KEPCO Starts Caspian Sea Oil Exploration

Khazar Exploration and Production Company (KEPCO), a subsidiary of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) which handles exploration operation in the Caspian Sea region in northern Iran, has announced the start of two major projects within areas run by the company.

Ahmad Shirzadi, exploration director at KEPCO said one project was development of Sardar-e-Jangal oil field and another one was the continuation of exploration operations in the prioritized structures in the middle section of the Caspian Sea.

He said that necessary arrangements would be made for long-term tests in Sardar-e-Jangal field in the near future.

Shirzadi said a working group comprising experts from the divisions of drilling; petroleum engineering and construction had been set up to conduct technical studies and plans for this purpose.

 “Upon conclusion, the workstream for long-term testing at the Sardar-e-Jangal oil field would be drawn up and submitted to the Directorate of Corporate Planning of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for credit allocation,” he said.

Shirzadi said: “After the drilling of two wells in the Sardar-e-Jangal oil field, week-long tests were carried out. But based on deepwater standards, these two wells are required to be tested six to eight months in order to get further information from the reservoir and reduce risks to the final output of the field. To that end, we would need storage vessels as well as vessels for carrying oil onshore.”

He said: “Given the necessity of using high-tech equipment for long-term tests and production in the Caspian Sea deepwaters, KEPCO experts are conducting feasibility studies for the supply of necessary equipment. We will enter operation and implementation phase after winning the approval of NIOC Board of Directors.”

Shirzadi referred to the background of exploration in the Caspian Sea, dating from 60 years ago, saying: “With the objective of access to hydrocarbon reserves in northern areas that are not far from energy-rich areas in the south and in a bid to break dependence on Turkmenistan’s gas, we have tried to realize oil and gas exploration through drilling various wells.”

He added: “To that end, 17 exploration wells have been drilled in Gorgan Plain. In light of acceptable specifications of reservoir rock, as well as light hydrocarbons, none of these wells have been assessed as an economical source of energy.”

 “Geophysical, geological and petroleum engineering studies in parallel with studies on reservoir risk analysis led to the discovery of 46 geophysical structures which are of significant offshore hydrocarbon potential,” he said.

Shirzadi said: “After the conclusion of drilling operations for the first well, geophysical and geological studies located a spot for a second well, 1,400 meters far from the first well.”

He added: “The reason for drilling the second well was first to assess the expansion of the discovered reservoir layer in the first well as well as drilling deeper layers for exploring the main reservoir zones in Chelkan Formation because based on the Caspian working group studies, six reservoir zones (specified with geophysical phenomena) could be evaluated. We have explored a reservoir zone in the first well, but we need deeper drilling to reach deeper zones.”

Shirzadi said drilling operations for the second well were carried out in 2014.

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