Conflicting reports surround Kashagan re-start date

Offshore staff

ASTANA CITY, Kazakhstan – The Kashagan oil field will achieve commercial production in November, rather than the previously reported October, Reuters has reported KazMunayGas CEO Sauat Mynbayev as saying.  

The state-run oil firm head told those attending a recent government meeting that oil will begin to flow in a few weeks, on Sept. 24, reaching commercial volumes in early to mid-November.

However, later, the news service later updated that the Kazakh Energy Ministry contacted them with a refuting report. In an emailed statement, the ministry informed Reuters that “commercial launch might still occur in October.”

“Provided Kashagan’s successful launch in October, the consortium plans to produce some 0.5 million tonnes of oil by the end of the current year,” the ministry commented to Reuters. “The first production phase is designed to produce as much as 20 million tonnes at its peak, and possibly rising to as much as 50 million tonnes if new investment is approved.”

Kashagan, said to be one of the world’s largest oil discoveries in the last 40 years, originally entered production in September 2013, but was suspended shortly thereafter due to a gas leak in a section of pipeline running from one of the project’s artificial islands to the processing facility.

Once repaired, flow was stopped again a few weeks later because another gas leak was detected. In January 2014, operator North Caspian Operating Co. (NCOC) said that the immediate cause of the leaks was identified as sulfide stress cracking, noting that “under no circumstances could gas hydrates formation be responsible.”

Previously, in June, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev said only to expect production to resume in late 2016. “We are expecting to produce nearly 35,000 tons in December 2016,” he said.

Reuters also said that KazMunayGaz signed a contract last month with trader Vitol to arrange a prepayment for its share in the Kashagan oil worth $1 billion.

Operator CNPC is a consortium comprising KayMunayGas, Eni, INPEX, Shell, CNPC, Total, and ExxonMobil.


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