An international consortium led by British oil giant BP has given the go-ahead for a $6.0-billion (4.4-billion-euro) investment in developing a major oil field in Azerbaijan, BP said Tuesday.
The new Chirag Oil Project will allow for the recovery of an extra 360 million barrels of oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the ex-Soviet republic, BP said in a statement.
"The project is planned to increase oil production and recovery from the ACG field through a new offshore facility which is designed to fill a critical gap in the field infrastructure," the statement said.
The first oil from the project is expected in late 2013, BP said.
About 1.4 billion barrels, or 188 million tonnes, of oil have been recovered from the field since its launch in 1997, BP said, and the potential ultimate recovery from the field is estimated at more than 5.0 billion barrels.
Operator BP holds the largest stake in the field with 34.1 percent, alongside partners including Chevron, Azerbaijani state energy firm SOCAR, Japan's Inpex, Norway's Statoil and ExxonMobil.
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, bypassing Russia.
The country in 2009 extracted 50.4 million tonnes of oil and 23.6 billion cubic metres of natural gas.