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SOCAR, US Oil Major Sign Onshore Exploration Deal

Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and US company ConocoPhillips have signed a deal on the joint "pre-exploration" of onshore deposits.

The deal was signed by SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev and ConocoPhillips First Vice-President Larry Archibald in Baku on 4 July, SOCAR reported on its website.

Details of the deal have not been made public, according to Interfax-Azerbaijan.

During the meeting with Rovnag Abdullayev, Larry Archibald said that ConocoPhillips had considerable experience in deep-water working and high-pressure oil and gas fields.

He may have been pushing ConocoPhillips credentials to develop the Zafar-Marshal offshore bloc, south of the Shah Deniz gas condensate field.

ConocoPhillips expressed interest in the bloc, along with the Umid-Babak and Deepwater Absheron prospects, over a year ago.

SOCAR responded at the time that they were ready to discuss terms for cooperation with ConocoPhillips in exploring and developing Zafar-Mashal but would develop Umid-Babak themselves.

ConocoPhillips had a 20% share in a previous deal to develop Zafar-Mashal, signed by Exxon Mobil and SOCAR in 1999. Under that deal, the Exxon-led consortium was to drill two appraisal wells in the contract area, but Exxon decided to pull out of the contract in 2005 after the first well showed that the reserves were not commercially viable.

SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev told today's meeting that he was sure that cooperation with ConocoPhillips would develop in future.

The US company is one of the shareholders in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

Source: News.Az

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