First oil exports leave Kashagan field following production restart

After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, the Kashagan project has finally shipped its first export batch of crude oil from its onshore processing plant.

Production from the giant oil field in the North Caspian Sea, 80 km southeast of Atyrau in Kazakhstan, was shuttered just weeks after it first came on stream in 2013 due to a gas leak from its subsea pipeline system (OGJ Online, Sept. 11, 2013).

Field production is expected to gradually increase to 180,000 b/d, with a target of 370,000 b/d to be reached by yearend 2017, partner Eni SPA said. Discovered in 2000, Kashagan’s estimated reserves total 35 billion bbl of oil in place.

“We expect a fast ramp-up at Kashagan,” commented research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie Ltd. upon news of the restart. “However, Phase 1 production is limited by physical capacity at onshore and offshore facilities.”

Kashagan is operated by the North Caspian Operating Co. BV consortium as part of the North Caspian Sea production-sharing agreement. Partners are Kazakhstan’s state-owned KazMunayGas with 16.88% interest; Eni, Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and ExxonMobil Corp., each with 16.81%; China National Petroleum Corp. with 8.33%; and Inpex Corp. with 7.56%.

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