Aday`s another attemptArthur Shakhnazaryan, Atyrau
This time they will search for oil in deeper layers
Prospecting works may already be resumed in the next year at the Aday block in the Kazakhstani part of Caspian sea. «Ocean Petroleum» LLP will deal with the project.
From hand to hand
The Ocean Petroleum company has swiftly (during two years after winning the bidding in 2014) developed a program of exploration/prospecting works at Aday oil block (located 270 kilometers northeast of Atyrau), and has held the project's approval procedure in the Pre-EIA state agency (preliminary environmental impact assessment).
Oil exploration was frozen at this block five years ago. Until 2011 prospecting at the block was conducted by "Aday" JV - a joint venture owned in equal shares by the Russian company "Rosneft" and First International Oil Corporation (FIOC). 100% stake owner of the latter is the Chinese Sinopec company. However in 2011, the Ministry of Oil and Gas terminated the production sharing agreement (PSA) for the Aday block's project with "Aday" JV. Then incumbent Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev said at the time: "The contract for PSA on Aday's block was terminated due to the fact that its term has ended, and we did not extend it. It was returned to the state. There have been no proposals received from Repsol. But even if there have, we cannot give it away without a competitive basis. For the time being the Aday block remains unallocated."
Investors then decided to withdraw from the project due to "unpromising future" for further exploration works. "Rosneft" and FIOC preevaluated the amount of oil reserves in the Aday block at 90 million tons, however the results of studies at the block revealed that actual recoverable reserves do not exceed 900 thousand tons, which is less than one million. As a result of exploration works performed on the block, 19 structures potentially containing hydrocarbons were detected. Two fields were discovered - and Biikzhal Kaskyrbulak South, deposits of which are related to post-salt sediments. In 2005 there was even a trial production conducted, and it was produced a total of about 43 thousand tons of oil. Either way both during the Soviet era and afterwards the real oil reserves had been discovered, but in very limited quantities.
Subsequently government tried to transfer the Aday block to Spanish Repsol Company as a consideration for the government's decision on the terminated "South Zhambai" project in the coastal areas of the Northern Caspian Sea, where the Spanish oil companies had a share in the project. "KazMunayGas" and Spain's Repsol signed an agreement of intent to provide the latter the exclusive right to perform geological and geodetic studies of Aday block. The document was signed at the highest level - in the framework of the official visit of Prime Minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to Kazakhstan from June 17, 2011. But no further steps in the implementation of the agreements were taken.