Re-Postponing Development of Kashagan Field Predictable: Expert

Oil&Gas Materials 13 May 2008 14:26 (UTC +04:00)

Kazakhstan, Astana, 12 May /corr. Trend K.Konirova / Re-postponing development of Kazakhstan's field of Kashagan from 2011 to 2012-2013 had been predicted, an expert on oil operations, who wants to remain anonymous, reported to Trend Special Correspondent.

"Today's statement by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources in the Government of Kazakhstan, Sauat Minbayev, regarding re-postponing is the news from people who are not glad much. It means that half a year of 'bloody' talks between the Government of Kazakhstan and shareholders do not justify themselves," the expert said.

The expert stated that the result of the talks - on postponing production from 2008 to 2011 - presented doubts amongst experts earlier.

"2012 and 2013 - these dates were highlighted by other participants of the talks, especially Shell and ExxonMobil as more real, but Italian Eni, operator of the project, did not mention these dates," the expert said.

According to him, if a question rises to re-postpone the development to 2013, Kazakhstan has the right to demand 50% participation in the project.

On 12 May the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources in the Government of Kazakhstan, Sauat Minbayev, briefed the media that the foreign participants of the Agip KCO consortium suggest the re-postponed development of the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan to 2012 or 2013.

"The foreign participants in the consortium want to delay the term. They hold different scenarios and offered 2012 or 2013," Minbayev said.

"We will strictly response to the results. If there is any delay in term at this stage tough, sanction must be defined. Therefore, we have tried to agree for the next time," the minister said.

According to the PSA signed in 1997 for a period of 40 years, Agip KCO realizes North-Caspian project which envisages developing a number of perspective oil fields in Kazakhstan section of Caspian, and Kashagan is the largest one.

The contracted area of the drilling works of the consortium includes four oil structures: Kashagan, Kalamkas, Aktota, Kayran. These structures are comprised of 11 offshore blocks covering a territory of 5,600 sq.m. The recoverable reserves of the Kashagan field are estimated at least 7-9bln barrels, but the gross geological oil reserves - 38bln.

According to the PSA, Agip KCO had to begin development of Kashagan in 2005. However, this date became unreal was postponed to 2008. Nevertheless, in mid of this summer, Agip KCO again notified the Government of re-postponing the development 2008 to 2011. In addition, the consortium highlighted significant increase of the expenses on the project from $57bln to $136bln.

Due to it, the Kazakh side expressed dissatisfaction with the rates of project's realization and demanded status of large participant in the project for its national company KazMunayGaz.

On 14 January an agreement was signed between participants of Agip KCO and Government of Kazakhstan, according to which changes were made to the PSA. According to the changes, KazMunayGaz will receive status of large participant in the project (16.81%) together with Eni (current operator of the project), Total, ExxonMobil, Shell. The sides reached an agreement that operator of the project will be a new company which will be established by all participants of the project, considering growing role of KazMunayGaz in the project.

Yet the parties to Agip KCO seem to be as: each of Eni, Total, ExxonMobil, Shell possesses 18.52%, ConocoPhillips - 9.26%, Inpex and KazMunayGaz - each 8.33%.