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Azerbaijan: SOCAR to Use Israeli Oil Field as Proving Ground

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan is looking to become an international energy producer. And in its first move beyond the Caspian Basin, SOCAR is turning to Israel.

Under a deal signed without fanfare last autumn, a SOCAR subsidiary, the Caspian Drilling Company (CDC), gained a 5-percent stake in Med Ashdod, Israel’s only economically viable oil field, located 16 kilometers off the Mediterranean coast. SOCAR will also be a major drilling contractor at the offshore field.

The project is SOCAR’s first oil-production or drilling operation outside of Azerbaijan. News of the agreement had largely escaped international notice until Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s April 23-24 visit to Baku. CDC will be working with Israel’s Shemen Oil & Gas Resources consortium (known by its unfortunate acronym SMOG).

“The drilling will begin soon. The work is at a very advanced stage and delivery of a drilling rig to the field is now expected,” Israeli Ambassador to Baku Michael Lotem told the Russian-language, Israel-based IzRus news portal on April 23.

To read the full story

Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku.

Azerbaijan: SOCAR to Use Israeli Oil Field as Proving Ground

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