© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Logo of BP is seen at a petrol station in Kloten

By Nailia Bagirova

BAKU (Reuters) – Oil major BP (LON:) and Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR signed an agreement on Friday to build a new exploration platform for the South Caucasus nation’s three major oilfields, BP-Azerbaijan said in a statement.

The Azeri Central East (ACE) platform, the latest phase of Azerbaijan’s giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oilfields, is expected to produce 100,000 barrels of oil a day and cost $6 billion to build, the company said.

The project is one of the biggest upstream investment decisions in Azerbaijan so far this year.

The ACG fields, which have so far produced 3.5 billion barrels of oil, have the potential to yield another 3 billion barrels.

BP’s main aim now would be to maximise the extraction of remaining reserves, Robert Morris, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in a statement.

“ACE is central to those plans, adding 100,000 barrels per day of production at peak in the mid-2020s,” he said.

BP and Azerbaijan in 2017 extended their agreement to develop the ACG fields to 2050, a deal dubbed by the Azeri government as “the contract of the century” when first signed in 1994. The arrangement was initially due to run until 2024.

Separately, SOCAR and its partners at the BP-led ACG consortium plan to participate in a tender to acquire stakes being sold by two of its members, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:) and Chevron (NYSE:).

SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev told reporters that the decision was made on Friday.

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