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Friday, September 19, 2008

Gas leak forces shut ins at ACG fields

17 September, 2008 - Upstream OnLine - BP has shut in oil output at the Western Azeri field - part of the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) complex in the Caspian Sea - after shutting in the Central Azeri field earlier today because of a gas leak at the platform. "We halted production at the Western Azeri as a preventive safety measure. There is no need to halt production at other fields," a company spokeswoman told Reuters. Staff were evacuated from the Central Azeri platform after the leak was discovered. The spokeswoman said that works would continue as normal at other fields in the deposit and exports would not be affected. "There are sufficient volumes of oil in onshore storage at Sangachaly (near Baku) as well as in Ceyhan. Loading of Azeri Light crude in Ceyhan is continuing according to schedule," she added. She could not say when the company planned to resume production. The ACG group produces about 900,000 barrels per day in total, with output from the Central and Western Azeri fields amounting to about 470,000 bpd of that. ACG is the main source of oil for the BP-operated Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which runs from the fields in the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea to the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Flows along the pipeline were halted for 20 days last month after a fire damaged a section in eastern Turkey. The ACG fields are being developed by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC). The deep-water Guneshli fields were brought on stream earlier this year. At plateau production, the Guneshli complex will produce 320,000 bpd, bringing total ACG oil production, including Chirag, East Azeri, West Azeri and Central Azeri, to over 1 million barrels per day. Other AIOC partners include ExxonMobil, Chevron and Devon Energy. Operator BP has a 34% stake in the fields.

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