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Financial police to investigate into bribe allegations over Kashagan

17 may 2012, 13:53
0
Kashagan oil and gas field. ©REUTERS
Kashagan oil and gas field. ©REUTERS
The Italian authorities haven’t turned to the Kazakhstan’s financial police with regards to allegations that Eni, an Italian oil major, resorted to bribing when penning the deal on developing the giant Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan, Newskaz.ru reports, citing Murat Zhumanbai, spokesman of the State Agency for Counteracting Economic Crimes as saying May 17.

He added that the “financial police will be investigating into the allegations”.

Early May Сorriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper, ran a material that Milan Prosecutor Office reportedly suspects Eni of bribing at the time of signing the deal on development of the Kashagan oilfield. The bribes were estimated at $20 million.

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 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%).

During the talks May 18 with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Paolo Scaroni, Eni Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, promised that “the first oil is expected in December 2012 or two-three months later than that”.

According to KMG, the Company plans to invest $8 billion into the project before 2014, with the total of investments into a range of projects standing at $20 billion.

Earlier Tengrinews.kz reported that KazMunaiGas National Oil and Gas Company would obtain a loan of $4 billion out of the National Oil Fund to finance the Kashagan oilfield development project.

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