Can the Caspian upstream sector still compete for capital?
The Caspian region – home to 6 million boe/d of liquids and gas production – risks facing an upstream investment crisis in the 2020s. Not one that will imperil near-term output in the landlocked region, but one that will shape the scale of the sector and the strength of hydrocarbon-dependent economies like Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan for decades to come. The region remains core to most of the Majors and has a diverse undeveloped resource base that should be primed for longevity. Existing megaproject production offers a rare operational scale and attractive cash flow margins, despite high transportation costs to international markets. Yet the region’s leading upstream growth options are disadvantaged at prices below US$60/bbl. The Caspian must now play catch up with the energy transition and evolving corporate strategies. Can future upstream projects be made lower-risk, lower-cost, higher-return and lower-carbon?