Azerbaijan US Firms Sign $10 Billion Oil Contracts

WASHINGTON (Reuters)–Azerbaijan signed on Tuesday oil production sharing agreemen’s with three US energy companies to develop oil fields in the former Soviet Republic.

The contracts were signed by Azeribaijan president Haydar Aliyev at a ceremony at the US Capitol. Aliyev said the contacts could result in $10 billion in potential investment by the firms in Azerbaijan.

Exxon Corp. and Mobil Corp. will take part in separate production sharing agreemen’s to develop fields off Azerbaijan’s coast in the Caspian Sea.

The companies will have a 30 percent stake in their respective projects and Azerbaijan’s state oil company–SOCAR–will have a 50 percent interest. The remaining 20 percent stake in the projects is expected to go to French oil giant Total.

Exxon’s exploration area covers 250 square miles (640 kilometers)–while Mobil’s covers 332 square miles (850 kilometers).

Separately–Texas-based Moncrief Oil International signed an exploration and production-sharing agreement for on-shore oil fields covering 410 square miles (1,050 kilometers) located in Azerbaijan’s lower Kura River Valley.

The privately-held Moncrief will have a 64 percent stake in the project–with SOCAR holding 20 percent and ISR taking the remaining 16 percent.

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