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GDF Suez Enters Exploration-Production in Azerbaijan

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 9/4/2008, Location: Asia

GDF Suez has just acquired a 15% stake in an offshore Exploration-Production license in Azerbaijan. License D-222, 65%-owned by Lukoil Overseas and 20%-owned by the national Azeri company Socar, contains the prospect Yalama, which will be drilled by early-2009.

Lukoil and Socar signed the exploration, development and production-sharing contract on Block D-222 on 3 July 1997 and the exploration period will continue until late 2011. If the exploration phase is successful, the license operation will enable GDF Suez Group to increase its reserves by approximately 35 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Azerbaijan owns large hydrocarbon reserves, estimated at over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent and more than 1,200 billion cu.m of natural gas, notably thanks to the Shah Deniz field. This country is a large producer and exporter of hydrocarbon country transported to European markets through the BTC pipeline for oil and the SCP pipeline for gas.

Azerbaijan exports natural gas to Turkey since 2007 and should become one of the providers for the European markets.

The acquisition thus perfectly fits the Groupís strategy to strongly increase proven and probable reserves, expected to be increased, in the medium term, from 670 million barrels of oil equivalent to 1,500 million barrels of oil equivalent. To achieve this, the Group will expand the geographic horizon of its explorationproduction activities, currently focused on Europe and Africa. GDF Suez will indeed soon enter Exploration- Production in Indonesia and the United States, thanks to asset exchanges concluded with ENI during the Distrigazís sale.

Jean-FranÁois Cirelli, Vice-Chairman and President of GDF Suez, declared: "GDF Suez, which will open a representation office at the same time in Baku, is delighted at this first undertaking in Azerbaijan, a major hydrocarbon-producing country and a significant gas and oil international exporter. It is also the Groupís first opportunity to enter industrial cooperation with the leading private Russian hydrocarbon producer, Lukoil, and with the national company Azerbaijan Socar. The acquisition of this stake shows GDF Suezís commitment to being a long-term partner in this country, in particular on Exploration-Production and hydrocarbon export projects.Ē

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