SOCAR to build 3rd gas compressor station at Garadagh

By: Aynur Jafarova

Azerbaijan’s energy giant SOCAR plans to construct a third gas compressor station at Garadagh underground gas storage, a source in SOCAR told Trend Agency on August 20.

Currently, Garadagh gas storage has two gas compressor stations with a daily capacity of two and 10 million cubic meters of gas, respectively.

“Construction of the third gas compressor station is an urgent need”, the source said. “This will primarily provide a timely stop and inspection of units in the days of peak demand. Also, the construction of the new station will positively affect the injection and extraction of gas,” it noted.

A place for the construction of the new station has already been defined, and according to preliminary data, its capacity will stand at least at three million cubic meters of gas per day. Depending on the equipment, the daily capacity of the station can reach five or more million cubic meters.

“However, everything will depend on the equipment that has not been selected yet”, the source added.

Azerbaijan possesses two underground gas storage facilities – Kalmaz and Garadagh. Both storage facilities are on the balance of SOCAR. The country’s underground gas storages are able to store over 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas.

The source went on to note that SOCAR also plans to start drilling of the fifth exploration well within the framework of the planned development of underground gas storage in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) in the near future.

At present, exploratory drilling is conducted in the Tumbul area on the basis of deposits of Nehram salt field. So far, four exploration wells have been drilled in the area so far.

“Drilling operations have been temporarily suspended, but in the near future they will be resumed,” the source said. “According to the plans, drilling of five wells is planned within the framework of evaluation activities at the site in general.”

After completion of the evaluative drilling, a research will be carried out and the feasibility of creating a new facility of gas storage will be determined.

In case of positive results, the process of creating the repository will take time because of the need to work on leaching of salt deposits and the creation of the necessary infrastructure, such as the installation of gas compressor stations and lying of necessary pipelines.

The preliminary data show the depth of salt bedding is 52 meters, while it is considered advisable to create an underground gas storage at a thickness of 40 meters of bedding.

Azerbaijan supplies gas to Iran as part of its swap operations to provide Nakhchivan with “blue fuel”. Some 125 million cubic meters of gas were supplied through Iran’s territory to the territory of Nakhchivan within the swap operations in the first four months of 2014. Iran also expanded the fuel supply from Azerbaijan up to one million cubic meters.

The two sides also decided to create underground gas storage at the salt deposit base to secure the sustainability of gas supplies to Nakhchivan. An underground gas storage facility with a storage capacity of 200-300 million cubic meters will be sufficient to meet the needs of the autonomous republic.

Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the retail oil products market abroad, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields, producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate, marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets, and supplying natural gas to industry and the public in Azerbaijan.