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KazMunaiGas chooses not to purchase ConocoPhillips’ 8.4% stake in the giant Kashagan oilfield

30 January, 2013
1309 0
Kashagan oil and gas field. ©REUTERS
Kazakhstan’s KazMunaiGas National O&G Company doesn’t mind ONGC Videsh purchasing the ConocoPhillips’ 8.4% stake in the giant Kashagan oilfield, KazTag reports, citing India’s Financial Express.

“ONGC Videsh Ltd, which trumped a strong bid by arch-rival China National Petroleum Corp to bag a stake in Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan oilfield, has cleared the first hurdle when it secured approval of all the partners in the project for its USD 5 billion acquisition”, Financial Express rote January 28.

In its biggest acquisition till date, OVL, the overseas arm of Oil & Natural Gas Corp in November agreed to pay US energy giant ConocoPhillips about USD 5 billion for the 8.4 per cent stake in Kashagan. The deal is subject to the approval of governments of Kazakhstan and India and also to other partners in the Caspian Sea field waiving their right of first refusal.

According to Financial Express, "None of the partners in the project chose to exercise their pre-emption rights at the end of the deadline late last week”.

The deal now hinges on Kazakhstan government's approval. "Kazakhstan government now has time till end of July to decide on the bid," the official said pointing that the Central Asian country's national oil firm Kazmunaigas had chosen not to exercise its pre-emption right.

Tengrinews.kz reported January 21, citing the country’s Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev, that the decision [on the Government’s options to purchase the stake] is to be taken by a special inter-agency committee that is carefully studying the issue at the moment.

“We have some months to take a decision, whereas partner companies’ time is shorter”, he said.

The Kashagan field, named after a 19th century Kazakh poet from Mangistau, is located in the Kazakhstan sector of the Caspian Sea and extends over a surface area of approximately 75 kilometers by 45 kilometers. The reservoir lies some 4,200 meters below the shallow waters of the northern part of the Caspian Sea and is highly pressured (770 bar of initial pressure). The crude oil that it contains has high ‘sour gas’ content.

The development of Kashagan, in the harsh offshore environment of the northern part of the Caspian Sea, represents a unique combination of technical and supply chain complexity. The combined safety, engineering, logistical and environmental challenges make it one of the largest and most complex industrial projects currently being developed anywhere in the world.

According to Kazakhstan geologists, geological reserves of Kashagan are estimated at 4.8 billion tons of oil. According to the project’s operator, the oilfield’s reserves are estimated at 38 billion barrels, with 10 billion barrels being recoverable. Besides, natural gas reserves are estimated at over 1 trillion cubic meters. The consortium developing the field comprises Eni, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and KazMunaiGaz (all with a 16.81% stake) as well as ConocoPhillips (8.4%) and Japan's Inpex (7.56%).

Tengrinews.kz reported late May that Kazakhstan and NCOC companies had signed an agreement to start commercial production at the giant Kashagan oilfield in the period from December 2012 to June 2013.

NCOC, a consortium developing the giant Kashagan oilfield, plans to produce 75 000 barrels of oil per day at the initial production stage, Tengrinews.kz reported mid-May 2012, citing NCOC Vice Managing Director Zhakyp Marabayev as saying on the sidelines of a CIS summit on oil and gas.

According to him, plans are there to bring the production figure up to 350 000 barrels a day or even up to 450 000 barrels a day at the first stage of the oilfield development.

“The current facilities enable to produce up to 350 000 barrels a day (…) Should the gas injection capacities be expanded, we could produce up to 450 000 barrels a day”, he said at that time.

Early October 2012 Tengrinews.kz reported, citing Kazakhstan’s Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev as saying October 2 on the sidelines of the KazEnergy Oil Conference held in Astana, that ConocoPhillips might exit the project.
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