Ten years ago, this day, production began at the Shah Deniz gas condensate field in the Caspian Sea. Over the past ten years, Shah Deniz Stage 1 has been providing a consistently secure and reliable supply of gas to the three regional countries – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. This was a significant achievement for BP, its co-venturers and many teams worldwide that have been involved in the design, fabrication, construction, transportation and hook up and commissioning of the project since the signing of the Shah Deniz PSA in 1996, and gas discovery in the Shah Deniz field in 1999.
The project has generated huge international interest and represented the beginning of an era for Azerbaijan as a gas-exporting nation. Ten years on , the Shah Deniz Alpha platform continues to operate at full capacity. During the three quarters of 2016, the field safely produced about 8 billion standard cubic metres of gas and 1.9million tonnes of condensate. Elkhan Mamedov, vice president production says: ”SD field is one of the most strategic fields for both BP and Azerbaijan. Our first platform on this development SDA has a number of great track records to be very proud of such as highest plant efficiency amongst AGTR and BP global benchmark (often reaching 100%!), has a number of biggest wells in BP portfolio and many more. But what is even more important that SDA supplies gas energy to the three countries, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and helps people in these countries keep their homes warm and light. Therefore each individual working on SDA must be proud of what has been achieved so far and it is certainly great place to work! My sincere and warm congratulations to all SDA team with 10 year anniversary,” SDA is a large jack-up comprising drilling, production and accommodation for 120 personnel with a total weight of 32,000 tonnes (topsides 22,000 tonnes, legs and foundations 10,000 tonnes). The platform’s drilling facilities are capable of drilling wells with a length of over 7 km and with an outreach of more than 3 km, while its production facilities are capable of processing approximately 1 billion cubic feet (28.5 million cm) of gas and 60 thousand barrels (8000 tonnes) of condensate per day.
Without any doubt a decade of the platform’s safe and successful operation is an incredible achievement of teams and individuals who keep demonstrating an enormous efforts, dedication and professionalism. For them SDA is not just a gas producing facility or their work place, it is part of their life, family and a school where they have developed their skills and grown professionally to confidently manage all technical aspects of the world class platform to produce and deliver the gas and condensate to the processing facilities at Sangachal terminal. Kieran Smith, control room technician (CRT)/coach who arrived on Shah Deniz almost 11 years ago as a CRT/production technician coach whilst the platform was still under construction at Zikh yard shares his memories: “We were a small team of expats and national technicians and over the course of the next 11 years I have been fortunate enough to see and play a small part in Shah Deniz growing from the construction yard to one of BP’s largest producing and reliable platforms in the world. I have also looked on with great pride as I have seen all of the national technicians develop to the point where each of the national technicians I met in those first couple of months in the yard has progressed through the ranks within BP and are now all in supervisory positions. To think it is now 10 years since first gas on Shah Deniz of all the important steps on our journey, the first was the most important and allowed us to achieve so much on the way including, 1000+ days without a shutdown to continuing to break production records each year.
Without a doubt the last 10 years of production on Shah Deniz are my proudest in my working life not only because of what we have achieved from a production point of view but also having watched the operations team develop into the first class team that currently operates Shah Deniz to the highest and safest standards possible.” Parviz Safarov, offshore maintenance planner recalls: “I joined Shah Deniz Alpha project in August 2006. I remember a small team with few national technicians working for operations at that time. SDA has been a good school for us, where we gained good knowledge of job we are doing. Now I am proud to see that SDA is being run successfully by almost national staff. I thank SDA all who made contribution to this great achievement.” Isa Manafov, SDA maintenance team leader said: ‘’I am proud to be a part of BP family. I feel a sense of pride when I talk about the BP culture, when I see the people following the procedure and safety in work. I would like to congratulate every single person working on SDA platform.’’ “I joined the SDA platform straight after the completion trainings in CTTC as production technician in August 1, 2005. At that time platform construction was ongoing on Zykh Yard. I worked with my team through the construction and then commissioning stages. I worked then as CRT for several years and then was promoted to production supervisor position in 2013. My colleagues and coaches have always supported me and this helped me build up my competency and skills,” added Samir Garajamirli, production supervisor. Today’s celebration of a decade of success gives a confidence that with such a dedicated world class team this success will continue for years to come delivering gas to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.