The Absheron gas condensate field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea will start producing gas not earlier than 2018, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev told journalists on May 14.
He pointed out that recently, France's Total company has presented a program for the Absheron field's development to the Azerbaijani State Oil Company (SOCAR).
The work carried out under this project aims to produce around five billion cubic meters of gas per year, the minister added.
"This is also a complex project, since the field is located in deep water. However, I believe that our experience will allow us to successfully put the field into operation," Aliyev stressed.
The discovery of the Absheron large natural gas field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian was announced in September 2011 following the drilling of an exploration well.
The field's potential reserves amount to 350 billion cubic meters of gas and 45 million tonnes of condensate.
The participants of the Absheron project include SOCAR - with a share of 40 percent - and French companies Total - with 40 percent - and Gaz De France Suez - with 20 percent.
The contract regarding the field was signed on February 27, 2009, between SOCAR and Total. Later, Total sold 20 percent equity participation to Gaz De France Suez.