Azerbaijan's proven crude oil reserves were estimated at 7 billion barrels in January 2013, according to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ). In 2012, Azerbaijan produced approximately 930,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of total oil and consumed about 85,000 bbl/d. The country was among the 20 largest exporters of oil in the world in 2012.
Azerbaijan is one of the world's oldest producing countries and has played a significant role in the development of today's oil industry. The world's first paraffin factory was opened there in 1823 and the first oil field was drilled in 1846. Azerbaijan was the site of the first offshore oil field, the Neft Dashlary, in the shallow water of the Caspian Sea, which still produces oil today.
The country's largest hydrocarbon basins are located offshore in the Caspian Sea, particularly the Azeri Chirag Guneshli (ACG) field, which accounted for more than 80 percent of Azerbaijan's total oil output in 2012. Similar to its share of total production, ACG also holds the vast majority of Azerbaijan's total reserves, with approximately 5 billion barrels located in this field.
Oil production in Azerbaijan increased from 315,000 bbl/d in 2002 to 1.0 million bbl/d in 2010. However, production declined since then, falling to 932,000 bbl/d in 2012. Monthly data through July 2013 show that this year's production thus far has continued its decrease, falling to an average of 910,000 bbl/d for the first seven months of the year. EIA forecasts Azerbaijan's production will decline to about 850,000 bbl/d in 2014.
Azerbaijan's main producing field, the ACG field, covers 167 square miles and is located 62 miles east of Baku in the Caspian Sea. Peak production was expected to reach 1 million bbl/d, but production at this field so far failed to reach this target. Production problems have affected ACG output in the past couple years, with unexpected production declines occurring because of technical problems. A new development, the Chirag Oil Project (COP), plans to increase oil production and recovery from the ACG field through a new offshore facility. COP is expected to be commissioned in late 2013, according to BP, with peak production capacity reaching 360,000 bbl/d.
In addition to the ACG output, a small but stable volume of approximately 40,000 bbl/d of condensate is produced at the BP-operated Shah Deniz field, with further volumes produced by SOCAR, mainly from the shallow-water Guneshli field.
According to the OGJ, Azerbaijan's proven natural gas reserves were roughly 35 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of January 2013. The vast majority of these reserves are associated with the Shah Deniz field. Recent discoveries of the Absheron and Umid formations, a further 15 Tcf of resources are estimated in place, according to Deutsche Bank.
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