“Prospects of the 2nd stage of Kashagan oilfield development are still uncertain”, Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev stated when speaking at the VI KAZENERGY international forum in Astana October 4, Novosti Kazakhstan reports.
According to him, the start of commercial production at Kashagan is still expected in December 2012 – June 2013.
The Minister reminded that the first stage of the project implies production of 370 000 barrels of oil a day which can be brought up to 450 000 barrels.
“Yes, there is some uncertainty with regards to the 2nd stage. But with close cooperation of the participating companies … with mutual interests taken into account, the project could be much more successful”, Mynbayev 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 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”.