September 16 President Nazarbayev visited the artificial island D in the Caspian Sea constructed to support operations at Kashagan giant offshore oilfield, KazTag reports.
President emphasized it had’t been easy to attract investments to the project. “It was one of the most complicated projects from the technology perspective. Its development called for colossal investments … Kazakhstan’s economy has been evolving, the applicable legislation sets favorable conditions for oil operations – these factors enabled me to attract investors that have injected $33 billion dollars into the project by now”, KazTag quoted him as saying.
The D artificial island is located 85 km away from Atyrau. 3.5 million tons of rock was used to construct it. The facility is capable of handling 450 000 barrels a day. It is home to two residential quarters – Shapagat and Karlygash. A total of 5430 people are currently employed at the island. The facility, among other things, accommodates 2 drilling rigs. The island is connected to the mainland with three pipelines . The D island connects other maritime facilities used at the 1st stage of Kashagan development.
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 metres.
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”.