Azerbaijan International

Autumn 1998 (6.3)
Pages 85-97

AIOC: Current Developments

by Tamam Bayatly

Oil in AzerbaijanOil in Azerbaijan

Left: View in Azerbaijan of the Western Pipeline to Georgia.

Right: Normal operation day at Sangachal terminal.


AIOC's New President
John Leggate of British Petroleum became the third president of AIOC on July 1, 1998. He replaced David Pritchard, President since January 1998, who had to return to the U.K. for health reasons. Terry Adams was AIOC's first president and served from 1995 to the end of 1997. Adams is now the Executive Director of Monument Oil and Gas.

Photo: Disabled Persons' Art Exhibition. (Left) Youth Deputy Min. V. Aliyev, Labor Deputy Min. Rahimov.

Prior to joining AIOC, Leggate held the position of Manager of BP's combined Southern North Sea Gas Assets. He previously served as Asset Manager for a group of BP-operated mature oil fields in the UK sector of the North Sea. He has also served as Operations Manager covering exploration and appraisal, drilling, production operations and field projects within the Wytch Farm asset of BP Exploration.

Leggate is a Chartered Engineer and a graduate from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He and his wife Barbara have two sons.

BP/Amoco Merger
Left: 1998 Winners of the AIOC-sponsored Excellence in Teaching Competition.

Upon the announcement of British Petroleum and Amoco of their intended merger, Leggate confirmed that for AIOC it would be "business as usual." Both companies have shares in the AIOC project. Leggate announced that the mechanics of the process of joining up the two organizations would take many months, and that for AIOC, therefore, it would be "very much business as usual." BP owns 17.1267 percent and Amoco owns 17.010 percent. They comprise the two largest shares in the 12-member consortium.

Azeribaijanis Named Managers
Two Azerbaijani staff - Namig Abbasov and Hikmet Islamov - have been promoted to senior management positions this September.

Left: Two million accident-free manhours. (Left) Mammadov (AZFEN), Hollis (AIOC), Zeynalov (SOCAR)

Abbasov was named Onshore Pipeline Operations Manager responsible for both the Northern and Western Export pipelines. Previously, he had been Manager of Permission and Regulatory Affairs. Abbasov is a graduate from the Azerbaijan Construction Engineering Institute and the Academy of National Economy. He has a Ph. D. in construction and operations of oil and gas pipelines and storage. He began working with SOCAR in 1977 and then joined AIOC in 1995.

Islamov was appointed Manager of the Sangachal Terminal. Previously, he served as Operations Superintendent at the terminal. A graduate of the Oil Academy, he joined SOCAR in 1986 where he rose from production engineer, senior engineer, inspector, process design engineer to the head of the Process Design Group at Gipromorneftegas. Islamov has a PhD. in development of offshore oil fields. In 1995 he worked as a process and design consultant in the detailed design-engineering work for the Early Oil Project in Brown and Root's Houston office. He has been with AIOC since 1996.

Accident Free
The principal contractors building the new Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) from Sangachal to the Georgian border successfully reached two million man-hours on July 18 without a single lost-time injury (LTI). Contractors for the project are TEKFEN and AZFEN. More than 80 percent of the construction work on the pipeline has been completed.

At the peak of the project, 1,150 people were involved. More than 75 percent were local Azerbaijani employees. The companies responsible include TEKFEN, AZFEN, Petrofac, Kvaerner Process, AIOC, CCG International, Rema Bau and Overseas Medical Services (OMS).

Speaking at the ceremony held in AIOC offices on August 11, 1998 to celebrate this safety achievement, John Hollis, AIOC Vice President of Oil Transportation, said: "When we compare today with the early days of this project, we can see that the improvement in safety performance by AZFEN and TEKFEN is truly remarkable. I am proud of their performance from both a technical as well as a safety point of view. AIOC strives to be an industrial leader in Azerbaijan for health and safety practice and for environmental standards. We place great importance on safe working standards. Contractors selected to work with AIOC are required to maintain the high standards set by AIOC and meet the expectations outlined in company policy."

Ahmad Zeynalov, Vice President of SOCAR and Chairman of the AZFEN Board of Directors, said: "The Western Export Pipeline is an extremely important facility. Azerbaijan needs both the Northern and Western Early Oil Pipelines. AZFEN and TEKFEN are very pleased to be involved in the project and are committed to successfully completing it by the first quarter of 1999."

The Sangachal Terminal received the 1 millionth cubic meter of Chirag crude oil on July 10, 1998. Since that time, the figure has increased to 1,450,000 cubic meters. Approximately 1,410,000 cubic meters of this crude has already been pumped into the Northern Pipeline system through which AIOC-produced Early Oil is being transported to Novorossiysk [Russia] and on to world markets.

This is a significant achievement with regard to remarkable oil production and transportation performance as well as the outstanding safety record at the Terminal. The successful Health and Safety performance of the terminal staff has enabled them to achieve 400,000 man-hours without any serious injuries since the commissioning of the facility.

The Sangachal Terminal facility has been operational since October 10, 1997. The First Oil produced from the Chirag platform reached the terminal on December 25, 1997. During both the start-up and operation period, the terminal has performed as safely and efficiently as during the construction works, meeting high expectations as expressed at the inaugural Early Oil Celebrations Ceremony on November 12, 1997.

In recognition of this outstanding safety performance and receipt of one million cubic meters of Chirag oil, John Leggate presented the terminal staff with a plaque in a ceremony held at the terminal on July 10.

Construction work is ongoing at the Sangachal Terminal for the installation of new Western Pipeline pumps as well as a metering and control room. The work is being performed by Kvaerner-John Brown using Petrofac as contractor and Azersanayetikinti and Azgur. Azersanayetikinti and Azgur have been involved in construction works at the Terminal since the very beginning.

Optimal Drilling Performance
Drilling experts from SOCAR and foreign oil companies recently met to hear how AIOC is optimizing development plans for the Azeri, Chirag and deep-water portion of Gunashli fields. Lessons from the experience on Chirag are being incorporated into the latest project plans to help better define well design, timing and cost. More than 30 participants in the meeting offered experience from all parts of the world on the use of the latest technology. This was the second such meeting of experts. AIOC plans to hold further forums throughout the project.

In the past 11 months, seven wells have been drilled and completed on Chirag. Both drilling and production are quicker and more promising than originally forecast. It took AIOC 88 days to drill and complete Well-1 and just 33 days to complete Well-6. Production is now up to nearly 12,500 cubic meters (76,000 barrels) a day.

Community Projects
Baku Biology teacher Jamila Ramazanova was named "Teacher of the Year" in this year's "Excellence in Teaching Competition" which was awarded on July 1, 1998. The competition is an annual AIOC project carried out in conjunction with the General Education Department of the Mayor's office.

At the Awards Ceremony held at Respublika Hall, AIOC Chief Operating Officer Bob Erickson and senior officials from the Mayor's Office presented diplomas and prizes to Ramazanova and other winners. AIOC contributed 53,950,000 manats ($14,000) in prize money.

Art by the Disabled
An exhibition of art created by disabled persons opened in AIOC's headquarters "Villa Petrolea" in mid-July. The exhibition will enable more than 100 disabled people to exhibit their work and support themselves through sales.

Participants in the art exhibition are members of the Azerbaijan Center for the Disabled, an organization of talented persons with physical disabilities including those who have been disabled in the Karabakh war.

AIOC will rent the works of art from the Center to decorate its office areas. In addition to the money the disabled people will make from the sale of their works to AIOC employees and visitors, they will receive quarterly fees for rental. Works on display include paintings, sculptures and pieces of applied folk art such as carpets, pottery, embroidery, ceramics and national souvenirs.

Oil Documentary
Azerbaijan National TV recently broadcast, The Land of Fire, a 12-part documentary on the history of Azerbaijan oil. AIOC was the main sponsor of the documentary. The film was made by the Azerbaijantelefilm Creative Union of the Azerbaijan National TV and Radio Broadcasting company. The idea of making such a film was initially supported by the government who commissioned Azerbaijantelefilm to make a trilogy of three full-length documentaries. Eventually the project developed, however, into a 12-part film.

Part 12 is devoted to the "Contract of the Century" [AIOC Contract] and focuses on President Aliyev's role in delivering the contract. It also includes information marking the major AIOC milestones and interviewing AIOC senior management.

(Ms.) Tamam Bayatly is Media and Government Affairs Specialist at AIOC.

From Azerbaijan International (6.3) Autumn 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

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