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On the 11th of September, after nearly 13 years, and around $50 billion of investment, the North Caspian Operating Company finally began production at the high-pressure oilfield in Kazakhstan known as the Kashagan oil field.
Then, on the 25th of September, the consortium in charge of developing and operating the largest discovery in the world over the past few decades, had to stop all work after a natural gas leak was detected.
On Monday, the Kazakh Oil and Gas Ministry announced that production had restarted on the 6th of October, and that they hoped to quickly get back on track to meeting its original output targets. Uzakbai Karabalin, the Oil and Gas Minister, said that before the gas leak was detected the field was managing a daily output of 48,000 barrels of oil, and was on course to achieve a production level of 75,000 barrels of oil a day by October.
The North Caspian Operating Company insisted that whilst dealing with the accidental leak, “all operations were conducted under strict procedures and in line with national and international safety rules.”
Kazakhstan’s oil output is predicted to reach 82 million tonnes this year, up from 79.2 million tonnes in 2012; and with other large fields coming online in the near future they believe that they should easily produce 110 million tonnes by 2030.
The Kashagan field and its 35 billion barrels of crude oil, of which between 9 billion and 13 billion are deemed economically recoverable, is vital to the country’s emergence as an important oil producer in the global market.
The Kashagan oil field is part owned by KazMunaiGas (the Kazakh state-owned oil company), Eni, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total, each with a 16.81 percent stake; Inpex with a 7.56% stake; and just recently CNPC bought an 8.33% stake for $5 billion.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com