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SOCAR and BP to develop a new offshore field in the Caspian Sea

BP and SOCAR signed a major new production sharing agreement at a high-level meeting in London.

BP group chief executive Bob Dudley and SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev signed the agreement to develop a new offshore oil and gas field on 26 April, as UK PM Theresa May and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev looked on. The 25-year contract gives BP and SOCAR equal 50% interests in an offshore field called Block D230, 84 miles northeast of Baku in the Caspian Sea.

The contract was signed while Ilham Aliyev was in London on a state visit. During a bilateral meeting with Theresa May, the leaders reportedly discussed security concerns and human rights, as well as the energy contract.

Ilham Aliyev was recently re-elected President of Azerbaijan in a snap election that received harsh criticism from international observers. The Azerbaijani press reported that May "congratulated President Ilham Aliyev on his victory in the presidential election" while, according to Downing Street's press release, the British PM merely diplomatically "said that she was pleased that [Aliyev] had chosen the visit the UK so soon after his inauguration."

BP and SOCAR signed their first production sharing agreement in 1994 to develop the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Guneshli (ACG) field in the Caspian Sea. Last year the ACG agreement was extended until 2050 in a deal that included a $3.6 billion bonus for Azerbaijan. The first tranche of the bonus ($450 million) was transferred to the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) on 29 January 2018.

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