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Diversity and Flexibility Key to Improving Caspian Oil and Gas Efficiency, says GAC

Diversity and Flexibility Key to Improving Caspian Oil and Gas Efficiency, says GAC

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19 March 2015

The Caspian offers a wealth of opportunities for energy players and their services provider, despite the region’s operational complexities, GAC’s Stewart Macdonald has told delegates at the Offshore Support Vessels – Caspian Region conference held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

As GAC Group’s Regional Marine Manager for Africa, Russia & Central Asia, Macdonald is responsible for the marine operations of the global shipping, logistics and marine services provider across Central Asia. In that capacity, he knows first-hand the importance of securing deeply rooted local footprints and developing a specialised yet flexible fleet with high utilization rates to operate profitably.

"The potential market outlook for the Caspian Area is significant in the medium term,” he told delegates. "However, aside from ongoing geopolitical issues that can cause market uncertainty, there are significant and unique challenges that constrain the pace of oil and gas development here. These include the availability of rigs, limited capacity of fabrication yards, the seasonal aspects of access through the canal system, strict environmental regulations and the cost of importing and flagging vessels for operation. Service providers and energy players need to collaborate closely to create innovative and flexible solutions for un-tapping this potential.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the Caspian Basin holds 48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves. Most of those reserves are offshore or near the Caspian Sea coast, with significant projects underway in the waters off Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.

"Fleet diversity and flexibility is critical to maximising competitiveness,” Macdonald added. "The range of vessel design and requirements for the Caspian is very wide and can be very specialised, depending on which area you’re operating in. To protect profitability through optimising utilization rates requires the flexibility to operate and deploy vessels on short term projects, as well as the innovation and technology to compete for the longer term projects. This is particularly important as exploration and development are migrating to deeper parts of the Caspian, requiring more advanced vessels and support equipment.”

GAC Marine is one of the largest marine companies in the Caspian and operates a fleet of over 20 offshore vessels in the Caspian Sea. The company also provides support for all marine activities from supplying offshore support vessels, shipping agency facilities, logistics and oil spill response capability and is the only operator of a 3rdparty supply base in Turkmenistan.