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Kazakhstan to significantly increase gas production

05 december 2014, 16:01
Photo courtesy of kurs.ru
Photo courtesy of kurs.ru

Kazakhstan to significantly increase gas production by 2030, says First Vice Minister of Energy Uzakbai Karabalin, a Tengrinews correspondent reported from the briefing at the Central Communications Service in Astana on December 3.

“Currently we are exporting a large amount – about 5-7 billion cubic meters - of gas every year. Amid the growing domestic consumption and expanding gas distribution network this export gradually decreases from year to year. But we think that closer to 2030, when we will stop re-injecting such large volumes of gas, we will have a dramatic increase in gas production - to 30-40 billion cubic meters a year,” he said.

Karabalin said that funds had already been allocated to search for new gas fields. He noted that demand for gas had become significantly higher compared with the Soviet times, when most of the attention was paid to oil.

As for production of shale gas, Karabalin explained its major drawbacks. 

"First, production of shale gas requires large amounts of water. Second, it involves hydraulic fracturing, massive drilling of multiple wells, use of certain chemicals that can greatly affect the quality of drinking water - making it unhealthy and environmentally hazardous. Because of this, some countries have banned development of shale gas altogether," he said.

He noted that Kazakhstan still had not discovered a single shale gas deposit. "Without even a single deposit (shale gas), it is all speculation. We are simply looking at what is happening in other countries, such as America. It is difficult to make assumptions," he said.

"We have a general scheme of gasification of Kazakhstan. By 2025-2030, we will bring domestic consumption of gas to 18-20 billion cubic meters a year. Thus, Kazakhstan will become a self-sufficient country. Nevertheless, the history of shale gas is known to all, in some countries shale gas deposits are significant, especially in the United States. This is a great resource. If it is found, it should be kept for another day," Karabalin said. 

The Vice Minister said that since the complex production of shale gas made this gas fairly expense, all of it would have to be exported if Kazakhstan every started producing it.

Last week at the 25th session of the Energy Charter Conference in Astana, Prime Minister Karim Massimov said that Kazakhstan wanted to produce shale gas.

"In recent years, Kazakhstan has become the world's leading exporter of energy. In the coming years we hope to be among the ten major producers of energy, including natural gas production. We are also going to develop deposits of shale gas," Massimov said.

Reporting by Assel Satayeva, writing by Dinara Urazova


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