The BP (BP)
-led Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) said on Wednesday it expected the Azeri government to give a green light in August for the next phase of its Caspian oil production project.
AIOC's president David Woodward told an oil and gas conference in the Azeri capital Baku the next phase aims to boost production to 350,000 barrels per day in 2005 from current levels of 100,000-130,000 bpd.
The project envisages bringing the Azeri field onstream in early 2005, adding to volumes from the Chirag field, which has been in production since 1997.
The cost of the expansion plans, called Phase One, is put at $3.3-3.4 billion, Woodward said.
The next phase envisages the construction of a drilling platform for 48 wells, a gas compressing facility, an underwater pipeline from the Azeri field and modernization of an onshore oil terminal.
The new production levels would be reached just as a planned $2.8-2.9 billion pipeline from Baku across Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan would be completed.
AIOC has already pumped more than 14 million tons of oil from Chirag since 1997, exporting oil through a pipeline to Supsa on Georgia's Black Sea coast.
The whole project is aimed at production at three offshore Caspian fields - Chirag, Azeri and deepwater of Guneshli.
AIOC, which unites BP; Unocal; Azeri state oil company SOCAR; Russia's LUKOIL; Statoil (STO)
; Exxon Mobil (XOM)
; TPAO of Turkey; Devon Energy (DVN)
, Itochu (ITOCY)
; and Delta Hess, expects production from the offshore complex to reach 1.0-1.3 million bpd between 2008 and 2010.