, LONDON, Jul 13 – British energy group BP said on Monday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Azerbaijan state oil company SOCAR jointly to explore the Caspian Sea.
The MOU was signed in London in the presence of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
A mainly Muslim country wedged between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan is a key partner in projects to deliver Caspian Sea energy reserves to the West through oil and gas pipelines to Turkey that bypass Russia.
"BP and SOCAR (the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan) announced today they have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly explore and develop the Shafag and Asiman structures in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea," said a statement issued by the British group.
"As part of the government\’s plan to ensure that all of Azerbaijan\’s offshore waters are fully exploited this MOU gives BP the exclusive right to negotiate a production sharing agreement to explore and develop the block, which lies some 125 kilometres (78 miles) to the south east of Baku."