BP’s operated company the Azerbaijan International Operating, has commenced oil production from the West Chirag platform of Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) field in the Azerbaijan sector of Caspian Sea.

Production started from one of the pre-drilled wells, J05, on 28 January.

The first oil will pass through the processing facilities installed on the platform and will be exported to the Sangachal Terminal through an in-field pipeline linked to an existing 30" subsea export pipeline.

By the end of this year, production is expected to increase as other pre-drilled wells are being brought on line.

Established between the existing Chirag and Deepwater Gunashli platforms, the West Chirag platform has a capacity for 183,000 barrels per day with gas export capacity of 285 million standard cubic feet per day.

BP Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey regional president Gordon Birrell said that the start-up of COP marks a major milestone in the development of the super- giant ACG field.

"We believe COP represents a big step forward towards stabilizing ACG’s production and increasing recovery by drilling more wells from the new West Chirag facility," Birrell added.

BP stated that West Chirag is the company’s eighth offshore platform built and operated in the Caspian.

The ACG field has to date produced more than 2.3 billion barrels of oil.

Birrell said, "BP as the operator of the ACG field and our partners are committed to continuing the efforts that are expected to take us step by step towards optimization of production and maximization of the field recovery."