BAKU, Azerbaijan – Two drill pods have been hauled, lifted and skidded onto the new ACE upper deck for the $6 billion Azeri Central East (ACE) project, bp announced on July 28.
This is the latest phase in the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, operated by bp.
The 48-site drilling and quarters platform and associated facilities will process up to 100,000 bbl/d of oil and are expected to begin operating in 2023, producing up to 300 million barrels over the life of the platform.
This is the ACG partnership’s first major investment decision since the extension of the ACG production sharing agreement (PSA) to 2049 was agreed in 2017. According to bp, the partners have spent more than $36 billion dollars to develop the ACG area since the initial PSA. was signed in 1994.
The ACE platform is positioned midway between the existing Central Azeri and East Azeri platforms in approximately 140m of water.
Other facilities will include new field pipelines to transfer oil and gas from the platform to ACG’s Phase 2 oil and gas export pipelines for onward delivery to Sangachal Termina, and a new water injection pipeline between the East Azeri and ACE platforms, providing injection water. from the Central Azeri compression and water injection platform to the ACE facilities.
The new Modular Drilling Support Module (MDSM) and Drilling Equipment Package (DES) for the ACE rig were field fabricated at the Bibi-Heybat yard prior to the start of ram operation and slippage.
The MDSM weighs 2,350 tons and is 43 m long, 20 m wide and 20 m high, while the DES is 2,400 tons, 32 m long, 22 m wide and 80 m high.
Neal Phillips, ACE Project Managing Director, said: “This was a complex operation and a first for bp in the Caspian Sea.
“During the operation, self-propelled modular trailers were installed under the modules to transport them to the main lifting position adjacent to the upper deck. The modules were then lifted by gradually installing steel cassettes to reach the final height of about 27 m.
“Hydraulic jacks were used to slide the modules onto the upper deck before lowering them to their final location. We… reached this unique milestone safely and ahead of schedule. in service at the higher level before the integration of the module.”
Cathal Kelly, vice president of bp projects for Azerbaijan, Georgia, Türkiye region, Egypt and Oman, added: “The completion of this activity is the result of almost four years of hard work. engineering and manufacturing in close collaboration with a group of contractors from the ACE project. including Azfen, NOV, SOCAR-KBR and Mammoet.
ACE’s overall construction and commissioning activities are currently at their peak with around 75% of the project complete and around 5,000 people in Baku, Europe and the UK, mostly Azerbaijani nationals.
ACG delivered an average of 12 Mcm/d of associated gas to Azerbaijan (1 Bcm in total) in the first quarter of 2022, with the rest of the associated gas produced being reinjected for reservoir pressure maintenance.
At the end of the quarter, 137 oil wells were in production, of which 37 were used for water and eight for gas injection.