Kazakhstan, Astana, July 3 / Trend D. Mukhtarov /
A ceremony of commissioning the production facilities and constructing those required for initial production was held at the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan with the participation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and British Prime Minister David Cameron, the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) international consortium said on Monday.
NCOC Managing Director Pierre Offant stressed that commissioning the production facilities means their phased start marks strong and continued growth of commercial oil production.
"It should be stressed that safety has always been our priority throughout this difficult process," Offant added.
According to the report, the Kashagan commissioning process is a sequential one involving more than 40 actions preceding the commencement of production and gradual attaining the target level because of the scale and complexity of the project.
According to the report, the production volume is planned to be gradually increased for the second half of 2013.
Around 180,000 barrels a day are expected to be extracted during the first phase, with 370,000 barrels per day at the second phase.
This production volume is characteristic only for the first stage of development. The estimated reserves of Kashagan and its neighbouring oil fields in the North Caspian Sea are expected to be about 35 billion barrels. Future development projects can open up opportunities to increase the production volumes significantly and turn Kashagan into one of the largest suppliers of the global energy market, the report said.
The Kashagan field is located in the northern part of the Caspian Sea, 80 kilometres from the city of Atyrau. It covers an area of 75 x 45 km (5600 square kilometres), the water depth is three to six metres and 4200 metres below the seabed.
The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) is the only operator of the North-Caspian project. Its shareholders are Agip Caspian Sea BV (16.81 per cent), KMG Kashagan B.V. (16.81 per cent), ConocoPhillips North Caspian Ltd. (8.4 per cent), ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Inc., (16.81 per cent), Inpex North Caspian Sea Ltd. (7.56 per cent), Shell Kazakhstan Development BV (16.81 per cent) and Total EP Kazakhstan (16.81 per cent).