BP partially resumes production at Azeri platform

MOSCOW Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:13pm GMT

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MOSCOW Dec 23 (Reuters) - A BP-led (BP.L) group has partially resumed production at the last Azeri offshore platform that was still shut after a gas leak in September, a spokeswoman for the group said on Tuesday.

BP in September suspended oil production at two platforms, Western and Central Azeri, of the giant Caspian Sea deposit, Azeri-Chirag-Gyuneshli (ACG), due to a gas leak. It resumed work at Western Azeri in October.

"We have partially resumed oil production at Central Azeri," said the spokesman, Tamam Bayatly.

She did not say how much the field is producing now, but a source close to Azeri state energy company Socar, which is a part of the group, told Reuters production was resumed at 3 of the platform's 13 wells.

Before Central Azeri resumed operations, ACG was producing 600,000 barrels per day of oil, down from the usual 900,000 bpd.

The source added that not more than 5 wells will be producing in the first quarter of the next year.

ACG is the main source of oil for the BP-operated Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, which runs from the fields in the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea to the Turkish Mediterranean coast.

Azerbaijan was the only non-OPEC nation to offer output cuts at the group's meeting last week. Azeri Energy Minister Natik Aliyev said the country was ready to cut output by 300,000 barrels per day to 540,000 bpd, which will be its lowest output level in two years.

Most of Azeri oil output is controlled by the BP-led consortium. (Reporting by Lada Yevgrashina, writing Tanya Mosolova)