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Azerbaijan's ACG crude production drops 8.4% in 2019, says BP

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Azerbaijan's ACG crude production drops 8.4% in 2019, says BP

Highlights

Jan/Feb Azeri Light loadings to hit record lows

Next significant ACG output boost due in 2023

Shah Deniz condensate to offset ACG decline

London — Azerbaijan's mainstay crude complex, ACG, produced 8.4% less crude in 2019 as the country's output decline appears to be accelerating, a BP statement showed Thursday.

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BP -- the operator of Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli complex -- said ACG had produced 535,000 b/d of crude in 2019, in a statement marking the 500 millionth ton of production.

ACG accounts for about three-quarters of Azeri oil production, which as a whole has fallen by abouta fifth in the last decade.

Production decline appears to have accelerated in recent months, even though a boost is expected when a new platform, Azeri Central East, comes on line in 2023.

Azeri Light crude loadings at Ceyhan, Turkey, are this month set to hit their lowest monthly level since Platts' records began in 2012, at 550,000 b/d, and February loadings are set to be even lower, at 537,931 b/d, according to loading programs seen by S&P Global Platts.

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Falling ACG volumes are going to be offset by rising volumes of gas condensate associated with the Shah Deniz gas complex, which entered a second production phase, with higher production, last July.

Shah Deniz condensate production amounted to 77,000 b/d over the first nine months of 2019.

Both ACG crude and Shah Deniz condensate are exported mainly via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline to Turkey's Mediterranean coast, with small volumes also sent to Supsa on Georgia's Black Sea coast via the Western Route Export Pipeline.

The distillate-rich crude is generally highly sought after, trading at a significant premium to Dated Brent, in part due to its relative scarcity in recent months.

-- Nick Coleman, nick.coleman@spglobal.com

-- William Bland, william.bland@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Aastha Agnihotri, aastha.agnihotri@spglobal.com