The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) has announced an important milestone in the development of the Kashagan field, located 80 kilometers offshore Atyrau, Republic of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Kazakhstan KazakhstanKazakhstan (RoK), in the northern part of the Caspian Sea. RoK President Nursultan Nazarbayev and British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Kashagan project facilities June 30 as the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA) Consortium celebrated the completion of the facilities required for initial production, marking the commencement of the start-up of the Kashagan production facilities.
Due to the size and complexity of the project, the start-up of Kashagan is a long sequence of progressive steps leading to starting production and progressively ramping up to the intended levels. This long sequence of complex processes includes the completion of each unit, each unit operating safely according to design specifications, employee training, and assurance that all production systems are operational.
Once all milestones have been completed successfully, the integrated system will receive the first oil and gas from some 4,200 meters below the North Caspian Sea. This will be delivered by eight wells on the artificial A Island. The wells and the pipeline system are ready for production, whereas the offshore production and treatment facilities on D Island are in the final stages of commissioning.
At the onshore Bolashak processing facility, the preparations for start-up of the processing facilities have already been finalized some weeks ago with the initial introduction of so-called sweet gas from the Makat gas grid. Employing sulfur-free gas is a critical step before real gas and fluids from the production wells are entered into the system. Along with the sweet gas introduction, the flare at the plant was ignited.
Through 2014, production will be progressively ramped up to the design capacity, from 180,000 b/d in the first stage to 370,000 b/d in the second stage.
This production capacity reflects only the first phase of development; Kashagan and the neighboring fields in the North Caspian Sea hold estimated reserves of some 35 billion barrels of oil in place, and future development projects bear the potential to significantly increase production volumes and position Kashagan as an important contributor to the world energy market.