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Kashagan: delays and resignations

October 30 2013, 12:37

By Laura Suleimenova

Kashagan project faces threats of delay again. This time the fault is in the pipelines connecting offshore and onshore complex. The recent statement of NCOC consortium made it clear that pipeline issues are much more serious than they tried to present it to the public earlier.  

The statement reads that oil production at Kashagan oil field stopped due another sour gas leak from the pipeline on October 9 and will be resumed after a few weeks:

“The sections of the onshore parts of the gas pipeline are being uncovered to allow a thorough visual inspection. The offshore part of the pipeline is being monitored carefully using vessels and helicopters equipped with sensors to detect potential gas seeps. No anomalies have been noticed. The whole gas pipeline from the D Island to the onshore processing facility Bolashak has been depressurized and emptied”,- reads the official company statement.  “Experts are investigating the root cause of the pipeline events. In order to ensure the continued compliance with the highest safety requirements, it is anticipated that the activities relevant to inspections and investigations will take some weeks. The oil and gas production remains shut in until the results of the expert studies are available and restart of the facilities can be carried out safely.”

At Agip KCO they are now trying to figure out what caused such a premature pipeline failure that was initially designed for aggressive Kashagan crude. The project’s destiny now depends on the results of the experts’ studies. In case the pipeline needs to be replaced, then we are talking about 1,5 up to 2 years of delay. On the background of this, the situation with Agip KCO managing director Umberto Carrara’s resignation as of November 1, who managed the construction of main facilities at Kashagan for 7 years, looks quite symptomatic.

Although, some sources stated that personnel rotation was scheduled before. At this stage Carrara will be replaced by Guido Brusco, who prior held the position of production operations department director.

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