BAKU (RFE.RL)–Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company SOCAR produced 5.2 million metric tons of oil and 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas during the first seven months of this year–Interfax reported. Of the total–4.3 million metric tons of oil and 3.4 billion cubic meters of gas were produced offshore.
Gas output declined by 3.3 per cent compared with the corresponding period for 1996. The CIPCO consortium representing Pennzoil–Russia’s Lukoil–the Russian-Italian joint venture LUKAgip and SOCAR began drilling its first exploratory well in Azerbaijan’s Caspian Karabakh field in early August–ITAR-TASS and Turan reported on 6 August. The Karabakh deposit has estimated reserves of 80 million metric tons.