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PM Serik Akhmetov shown round Bolashak onshore oil treatment plant

23 november 2012, 23:19
0
PM Serik Akhmetov. ©Daniyal Okassov
PM Serik Akhmetov. ©Daniyal Okassov
Kashagan oil field. ©REUTERS
Kashagan oil field. ©REUTERS
The country’s PM Serik Akhmetov has been shown round the Bolashak onshore oil treatment plant owned by Agip KCO, [ a Eni subsidiary, Agip KCO is responsible for the execution of the first phase of development of the giant Kashagan oilfield] in Atyrau oblast, the PM’s Press Service reports.

Head of the Kazakh Government was briefed on the plant’s readiness to receive commercial oil from Kashagan. The plant allows processing 22.5 million tons of crude and over 6 billion cubic meters of gas a year.

According to the Agip KCO’s website, at the first development phase oil and non reinjected gas will be treated in the hubs and delivered, through two separate lines, to the onshore treatment plant (located at Bolashak, near Atyrau). The oil will be further stabilized and purified. Natural gas will be treated for the removal of hydrogen sulphide and will be mostly used as fuel for the production plants; the remaining amount will be marketed.

To ensure their protection from harsh winter conditions and pack ice movement, offshore facilities are being installed on artificial islands. There are two main types of island – small unmanned ‘drilling islands’ and larger manned ‘hub islands’. Hydrocarbons will travel from the drilling islands to hub islands via pipeline. The hub islands will contain processing facilities to separate recovered liquid (oil and water) from the raw gas, as well as gas injection and power generation systems. In particular, the current processing facilities of the D artificial island stand at 450 000 barrels of crude a day.

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.

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