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Head of NCOC, Kashagan operating company, to resign

24 april 2014, 00:06
Pierre Offan ©azh.kz
Pierre Offan ©azh.kz

NCOC Chairman and Managing Director Pierre Offan is resigning May 1, 2014, the company told a Tengrinews.kz journalist in an interview.

In October 2008 the Republic of Kazakhstan reached an agreement with the seven companies participating in the Kashagan PSA to form a new joint operating company North Caspian Operating Company B.V. In January 2009 NCOC formally became operator under the PSA, taking over the role that was formerly held by Agip KCO.

Pierre Offan has been holding the post since 2008 and is to be replaced with Stephen Mayo, “a seasoned professional with a vast international experience leading technical development projects for the oil & gas industry”.

A full-scaled resumption of crude production at the giant Kashagan oilfield should be expected at the end of 2015, Yves Louis Darricarrere, President of the Exploration & Production Division at Total SA, said at the CIS O&G summit April 22.

Given the risks of further postponement of commercial production at the giant Kashagan oilfield, talks will be held with other oil companies to boost crude production figures, Tengrinews.kz reported, citing the country’s Minister of Economic Affairs Yerbolat Dossayev as saying April 14.

Commercial production at Kashagan started September 11, 2013. However, it was suspended 2 weeks later due to a gas leakage. The production process was resumed shortly. However, another leakage was detected in October.

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.

“We expect Kashagan to come on stream shortly. The volume of crude to be produced hinges on the period of repairs currently under way. Our estimates stand at about 2 million tons for 2014”, Tengrinews.kz reported mid-January 2014, quoting the country’s Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbai Karabalin as saying at a press-conference following the sitting of KAZENERGY petroleum association.

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