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Oil Output at ACG In Azerbaijan up 7.8 Pct in Q1

BP-led group AIOC in Azerbaijan boosted crude oil production at Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) deposit by 7.8 percent in January-March 2010 year-on-year, BP-Azerbaijan said in a press-release.

The first-quarter production rose to 9.7 million tonnes, thanks to rising production volumes from Azeri and Guneshli oil fields, the company said.

It also said that gas production at the giant Shah Deniz gas deposit, co-led by BP (BP.L) and Statoil (STL.OL), came to 2.0 billion cubic metres (bcm) in the first quarter, same as in the corresponding period of last year.

Outgoings for the ACG totalled $496.3 million and $117.8 million for Shah Deniz in the first quarter.

The ACG deposit with a total reserves of 900 million tonnes is the main source of oil for the BP-operated Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which ships 850,000 barrels per day from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.

Production at the ACG is expected to total 42.1 million tonnes in 2010, up from 40.3 million tonnes last year. Production at Shah Deniz with a total reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic metres, is expected to rise this year to 7.6 bcm from 6.2 bcm in 2009.

Azerbaijan launched a $6 billion project in March to explore for oil in the western part of the Chirag field, a development that could extend the life of the ACG deposit.

Azerbaijan's total crude oil production rose by 6.4 percent in January-March 2010 year-on-year, to 12.3 million tonnes, while its gas output rose by 9.6 percent in January-March 2010 year-on-year to 5.1 bcm.

Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan ships its oil via four main routes - Russia's largest Black Sea port, Novorossiisk, neighbouring Georgia's Supsa and Batumi ports, and Turkey's Ceyhan.

The country sells gas to the domestic market, neighbouring Georgia and Turkey via the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline.

Source: Reuters

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