The start of oil production at the Kashagan field in the Kazakh Sector Caspian Sea will begin in the nearest days, said Kazakhstan's oil and gas minister Uzakbai Karabalin after a government sitting, writes IA Novosti Kazakhstan.
As previously reported, the first oil was to flow Monday, September 9, but on the eve of the day a representative of North Caspian Operating Company, the project operator, had stated it could be possible the following day, September 10.
"The date has been moved, I don't know for how much, it is expected for any day now," Mr Karabalin told journalists.
Kashagan is a huge offshore oil and gas reservoir, situated in the north of the Caspian Sea. Its geologic reserves are estimated at 4.8bn tons of oil. Overall crude reserves make 38bn barrels, of which nearly 10bn barrels are extractable. The field also contains large amounts of natural gas - over 1 trillion cubic meters.
Initial start of production at the field discovered in 2000 was scheduled for 2005. Total investment amounted to $10bn then. However, a number of technical challenges brought delays and increased the project cost above $40bn.
The project is jointly carried out by Kazakhstan's Kazmunaygas (KMG), Italy's Eni SpA, an American company Exxon Mobil Corp., a British-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell PLC, France's Total SA and Japan's Inpex.
September 7, it was announced that Chinese oil giant CNPC had bought the 8.33% share in the project from KMG.
Earlier, KMG had declared plans to achieve production at Kashagan between 1.5 and 3 million tons during 2013.