BP announced that the first exploration well was spudded on the Shafag-Asiman offshore block in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.
The block lies some 125 kilometres to the south-east of Baku. It covers an area of some 1,100 square kilometres. It is located in water depths of 650-800 metres.
The SAX01 well is the first to be drilled in the contract area and is in accordance with BP's obligations under the PSA that was ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament in 2011.
The well is planned to reach total depth of up to 7,000 metres, which is expected to take around nine months. Following this, well data will be analysed and, if successful, an evaluation programme may be conducted to confirm the results, BP said in a statement
Gary Jones, BP's regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said: "We are excited and proud to be embarking on this first exploration well on Shafag-Asiman – a structure which has significant potential for a large-scale gas discovery. A great deal of preparation has been made to assure a safe and robust drilling programme."