Azerbaijan International

Spring 1998 (6.1)
Pages 99-101

NAOC - North Absheron Operating Company
Current Developments

by Sevinj Asadova and Mike Barnes

NAOC Strikes Oil!
North Absheron Operating Company (NAOC) has just completed drilling and testing of the first of its three planned exploration wells within the Ashrafi-Dan Ulduzu contract area. On January 3-10, 1998, it drilled through the oil and gas bearing formations and succeeded in testing for gas formation on January 23 and for oil formation five days later.

The Ashrafi-1 well was drilled to a total depth of 3,711 meters. Two of the well's secondary reservoir targets were hydrocarbon-bearing and have been tested. One zone tested at a daily rate of 620,000 cubic meters of gas (22 million cubic ft) and 40 metric tons of condensate (350 barrels). The second zone tested at a daily rate of 460 metric tons of oil (3,400 barrels) and 36,000 cubic meters of gas (1.3 million cubic ft).

The Ashrafi well is the first exploration well drilled by a foreign consortium in the Caspian Sea that flow-tested hydrocarbons. In less than one year since ratification of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) by the Azerbaijani Parliament, NAOC has established itself as an operating company, completed its 3-D seismic survey, conducted an environmental baseline survey and environmental impact assessment, and drilled the first exploration well. Credit goes to the 20 Azerbaijani and six expatriate staff of NAOC who worked tirelessly to accomplish these goals. Succeeding in finding oil is the crowning achievement of their work. Fortunately, they were able to capitalize on many opportunities that present themselves in being the fourth consortium as well as a member of the first rig-sharing group among the international contracts in Azerbaijan.

Additional drilling and further technical evaluation will be required to determine the commercial viability of the block. NAOC, along with its shareholders: SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic), Amoco, Unocal, ITOCHU and Delta Oil are evaluating the results.

NAOC plans to begin drilling a second exploration well in late 1998 to test the Dan Ulduzu structure. The fact that oil has already been found in the Ashrafi bodes well for the probability of finding additional oil within the contract area.

"We're encouraged by the results so far and are looking forward to a second successful well in the Dan Ulduzu part of our contract area," says Tom Klockenbrink, NAOC President.

Cultural Projects
Cultural and humanitarian projects are also important to NAOC in their involvement in Azerbaijan. Several are already underway.

When the director of the State Chamber Orchestra proposed a concert dedicated to the 80th anniversary of composer Gara Garayev (1918-1982), NAOC decided to sponsor a series of three concerts-February 7, March 6 and April 3. Garayev is considered to be one of the giants of symphonic music in Azerbaijan. These days, he is even becoming known in international circles.

His most well-known works include the symphonic poem, "Leyli and Majnun" (1947), the opera "Don Quixote" (1960) and two ballets "Seven Beauties" (1952) and "Paths of Thunder" (1958).

NAOC has also recently became a Gold Member of the Opera House Trust Fund which is committed to strengthening and facilitating projects of the Opera and Ballet Theater.

Humanitarian Projects
NAOC has not forgotten Azerbaijani children, in particular those from disadvantaged families or who have become orphaned because of the war. In January, a New Year's party was given for 1,000 children from various orphanages on the Absheron peninsula. Again on the first day of spring (Noruz Bayram-March 21), the children enjoyed another party.

Last year, NAOC was involved in the construction of temporary housing in the Mingachevir area for more than 100 families who were among the tens of thousands of refugee families who have had to flee as victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Continuing in this realm, NAOC is now involved in building eight community centers in the central part of Azerbaijan-Mingachevir, Barda and Yevlakh. Relief International is organizing this project for NAOC.

In addition, NAOC is participating with Counterpart to distribute surplus food goods from the U.S. military to victims of the war in the Baku area. NAOC decided to contribute to the costs of transportation associated with internal distribution throughout Azerbaijan and warehousing costs in Baku so that food could be distributed to about 1,000 orphans in more than 10 orphanages for five to six months.

The Zabrat orphanage in the Absheron peninsula was in desperate situation as on rainy days, its roof leaked terribly. NAOC undertook to repair and refurbish the roof for the orphanage.

NAOC continues its involvement with the people of Azerbaijan along with the development of resources. We, at NAOC, are committed to "building upon the foundation of the Azerbaijani people."

From Azerbaijan International (6.1) Spring 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

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