Three possible dates for resumption of oil production at Kazakh Kashagan field

Astana, Kazakhstan, Dec.6
Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

There are three possible dates of resumption of production at Kashagan field in Kazakhstan, a source at Kazakh oil and gas market told Trend.

"Today we are considering three options concerning the date of resumption of oil production in Kashagan. The first is early April 2014, the second is during the whole next year, and the third during year and a half or two years," the source said.

The source went on to say that oil production stopped due to a gas leak in a gas pipeline that links the islands and the Bolashak plant, namely in the onshore section of the pipeline. The source also recalled that three main pipelines (oil and gas) were laid at the field.

"In total 63 cases of gas leakage were found in the pipeline, and 15 of them -two leaks in the "body" of the pipeline, and 13 in the welds- were confirmed," the source stressed.

On October 9, 2013, a technical failure occurred in Island D of the Kashagan field. According to NCOC, as a preventive measure oil production was suspended, but it will be resumed after troubleshooting. Such minor incidents are typical during commissioning of comprehensive and technologically advanced facilities.

As NCOC reported earlier, during a routine inspection of the gas pipeline from the D Island to the onshore processing facility Bolashak, indications of traces of gas were detected some two kilometers outside Bolashak plant within the sanitary protection zone.
As a preventive measure the affected part of the pipeline was depressurized and flushed with inert gas to make it accessible for inspection.

"Excavation for opening the pipeline started on the morning on October 11. Once the work is completed, an inspection of the stretch will be carried out and if necessary, repair works will be carried out in line with the procedure. Oil production is suspended until the establishment of the cause of gas leak," NCOC said earlier.

Pipes at Kazakhstan's Kashagan field where a gas leak was detected have been replaced and sent for examination, the official Kazakhstan media outlet reported.

"Currently preparations are being carried out for examination of the pipeline with a special robotic device. The parts where the leaks were detected have been replaced and sent for examination to find the fault," the media outlet reported.

In turn, some foreign media outlets reported that the Japanese Sumimoto company was a pipe supplier. On September 24 NCOC removed two Sumitomo pipes and sent them for examination.

The source confirmed that the pipes in the problematic sections were really extracted and sent for examination by authoritative experts.

"The pipes are sent for examination to three places. One of them is the Institute of Welding in Cambridge. With a complete examination, we will find out the causes of leakage. For now it is too early to draw any definite conclusions about whether the Japanese company or someone else is guilty," the source said.

There are artificial islands created at the Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea where wells has been drilled. The islands are connected to the land-based Bolashak facility for preparation of oil and gas by pipelines.

Kashagan is a large oil and gas field in Kazakhstan, located in the north of the Caspian Sea. Its geological reserves are estimated at 4.8 billion tons of oil. The total oil reserves amount to 38 billion barrels or 6 billion tons, some 10 billion out of them are recoverable reserves. There are large natural gas reserves at the Kashagan field - over one trillion cubic metres.

The Kashagan field is located at the shallow part of the North Caspian Sea and stands out with its fragile ecosystem. Nevertheless, this oil and gas reservoir is unique for huge reservoir pressure, large depth and high content of hydrogen sulphide.

The partner companies in Kashagan project are Eni, KMG Kashagan B.V.( KazMunaiGas subsidiary), Total, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, each of which owns 16.81 percent share, CNPC- 8.4 percent, Inpex- 7.56 percent.

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