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Deadly Explosion At Kazakhstan’s Biggest Oilfield

An explosion at a giant oilfield in Kazakhstan, the country’s largest, killed on Thursday two workers and left at least three others wounded, local reports say.

The blast at the Tengiz oilfield occurred during a test in a pipe, the operator Tengizchevroil—in which U.S. supermajor Chevron has 50 percent—said, as carried by Kazakh news agency Kazinform.

The Tengiz Field is one of the world’s deepest operating supergiant oil fields, with the top of the reservoir at approximately 12,000 feet (3,657 m) below ground, Chevron says.

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According to a source close to Tengizchevroil, who spoke to Reuters, the huge oilfield continues production after the explosion.

The blast took place a day after a Russian court ordered the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), which operates a key export route for crude oil from Tengiz, to suspend activities for 30 days, citing environmental violations.

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The Caspian Pipeline Consortium is the world’s largest international oil transportation project involving Russian and Kazakh companies for the transportation of crude oil from Kazakh and Russian fields to the port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea via a 1,500-km pipeline. Chevron has a 15-percent stake in the company.

The ruling of the Russian court this week came days after Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev offered the EU to buy more oil from Kazakhstan instead of Russia.

The Kazakh president “expressed concern about the risks to global energy security and emphasized Kazakhstan’s readiness to use its hydrocarbon potential to stabilize the situation in the world and European markets,” according to the website of the president, who had a telephone conversation with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Monday.

On Thursday, after the Russian court ruling suspending CPC, Tokayev said Kazakhstan needed to diversify its oil export routes. The president ordered a study into a project for bypassing Russia by building a pipeline across the Caspian Sea, Reuters reports. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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