Azeri oil production up, gas down
The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijanian Republic (SOCAR) announced that it had exceeded the oil production target
for 1998. According to the information of the SOCAR economic service, oil output for 1998 was 9,052,200 tonnes --
52,000 tonnes more than was planned. The growth rate for the production of hydrocarbons was 0.3 % as against
Oil exports from Azerbaijan grew in 1998 to reach 2.5 mm tonnes, exceeding the figure for 1997 by almost 11 times. The State Oil Company accounts for 20 % of oil exports, while the Azerbaijanian International Operation Company (AIOC), which is developing three contract offshore oil fields, accounts for the remaining 80 %.
At present the Azerbaijanian oil, including the one produced at contract oil fields, is transported in one direction
only -- to Novorossiysk. In 1999, however, it will also be delivered to Georgian Supsa on the Black Sea coast. This
will be started in the first quarter of 1999.
At the same time, the situation with the production of natural gas is still far from perfect. Despite a special programme for ensuring the growth of gas output, adopted in the first quarter of 1998, SOCAR failed to reach the gas production target.
Gas output in 1998 was 5, 589.5 mm cm -- 600.5 mm cm, or 9.7 %, down as against the planned figure. This makes about half of the domestic demand in natural gas. Gas production has been on the decline for about five years.