March 20 - The Caspian region offers a wealth of opportunities for energy players and their service providers, despite its operational complexities, says GAC Group's regional marine manager for Africa, Russia and Central Asia, Stewart Macdonald.

"The potential market outlook for the Caspian Area is significant in the medium term," Macdonald told delegates at the Offshore Support Vessels - Caspian Region conference in Baku, Azerbaijan. "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 cu ft 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.


ALE undertakes record Caspian transport.