Kashagan to become Kazakhstan’s major oil producer in the years to come — expert

ASTANA (TCA) — The maximum potential of Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oil field will be revealed in 25-30 years, when oil extraction at the Caspian field is to reach 60 million tons per year to remain at that level for a long time, the President of the Kazakhstan Society of Petroleum Geologists Baltabek Kuandykov said in an interview with PrimeMinister.kz.

Kuandykov stood at the origins of the development of the Kashagan field in 1993, as Deputy Minister of Energy and Fuel Resources of Kazakhstan he participated in the formation of an international consortium to develop the giant field.

In 1997, a production sharing agreement was signed on Kashagan, and the first well was drilled in 2000. Then the field’s reserves were estimated at about 30 billion barrels of oil per year. On a global scale, Kashagan was the largest field discovered in the last 40 years.

Oil production began at the Kashagan field in September 2016.

“This is the first offshore field that Kazakhstan is developing. This is a special deposit with its own mining and geological conditions. It is characterized by an ultrahigh pressure, a very high content of hydrogen sulphide, and a high formation temperature of about 100°C. In addition, the Caspian Sea is unique in itself. It is called the sea, but in winter, almost half of it — all of its northern part — freezes. This does not allow ensuring normal operation at offshore facilities,” the expert explained.

As an additional obstacle to normal oil production, Kuandykov named the shallow northern part of the Caspian Sea. In the Kashagan area, the water depth is only 4-5 meters, which impedes the movement of large vessels.

But despite all the difficulties, the field was launched, and produced 5 million tons of oil in 2017. Until the end of the year it is planned to extract about 8-8.5 million tons of oil.

“Today we are at the first stage at Kashagan. This is a test phase, which will show what kind of work we should do, what should we look for. The first phase will reach its maximum by 2020-2023. After that, we will start implementing the second phase — then we will be able to produce up to 35-40 million tons of oil a year. In 25-30 years, we will reach the maximum, the third phase, which is about 60 million tons of oil per year,” Kuandykov said.

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