Turkmenistan Plans Oil Exploration for 2013

Natural gas-rich Turkmenistan is shifting direction into a period of new oil exploration, with several firms saying that they are currently planning exploratory wells in the coming year.

Itera of Russia recently said, in an Ashgabat conference, that its first exploration well, located in the Caspian Sea’s Turkmen Sector, is set to be drilled in 2013. Moreover, two other offshore operators in the Caspian Sea, RWE of Germany and Buried Hill Energy based on Cyprus, reported that they are set for drilling their first oil well next year.

Gennady Skidanov, the Vice President of Itera, told the yearly Oil and Gas conference in Turkmenistan that his firm aims to perform oil drilling in its first well, located in Block 21, between the months of January and June 2013.

Previously, Itera has said that initial estimates obtained from seismic surveys show that this block contains recoverable crude reserves of about 219 million metric tons, together with natural gas of almost 92 billion cubic meters.

The overall oil investment needed for actual production is estimated at about $6 billion, said Itera.

Two other firms with agreements to Turkmenistan’s production sharing terms for development of the Caspian Sea’s offshore area will also begin oil drilling in the coming year.

A senior RWE official, which operates oil exploration Block 23, said that its company’s first well will be drilled before 2013 ends.

RWE’s completion of seismic surveys, currently having their data interpreted, happened last August. The company expects its drilling and seismic activities to cost nearly $300 million and its total field development to cost about $5 -6 billion.