Photo:blackseanews.netKazakhstan's Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbai Karabalin announced two possible timeframes for resumption of the oil production at the country's Kashagan field.
"The optimistic scenario says that the production will be resumed in the first half of 2016.
The second possible timeframe for the resumption falls on the second half of 2016," he said at a briefing at the Central Communications Service under the country's president.
He went on to add that the timeframe can vary for a number of reasons, trend.az reports.
The minister stressed that the time of resumption of the production will depend on the time of supply of the pipes and the availability of barges for laying the pipes. Karabalin underscored that before the launch of production at the field, it is necessary to buy some 200 kilometers long pipes and lay them.
"Many things will depend on the process of the restoration work. The examination of the new pipes at the manufacturing plants hasn't been completed yet under the conditions at the Kashagan field, where high corrosion resistance is required. The plant that will deliver these pipes to us conducts additional examination of the pipes in order to test their strength," Karabalin said.
The manufacturing of the pipes is expected to start in August, while the first deliveries will begin in December, according to Kazakhstan's oil and gas minister.
The project budget will be worked out after the prices for the pipes are determined, he said adding that the key condition for starting the restoration work is the availability of a pipe laying barge in the Caspian Sea.
The poor quality of welding or the wrong choice of a welding technology caused the emergence of cracks on the pipelines, according to the minister.
Oil production at Kashagan field started on September 11, 2013. However, on Sept. 24, the usage of the field was suspended due to a gas leak on a pipeline running from the D Island to the Bolashak Integrated Oil and Gas Plant.
The pipeline sections were supplied by two Japanese companies - Sumitomo and JFE, and the Italian company Saipem was engaged in laying the pipes.
Experts found out that the sulfide stress cracking was the immediate cause of the pipeline leaks. The sulfide stress cracking was itself caused by unforeseen increase in hardness of the metal at very small sections of the pipeline.
NCOC consortium is the operator of the project under the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement.
The project participants are: KMG Kashagan B.V., AGIP Caspian Sea B.V., CNPC Kazakhstan B.V., Ex.xon Mobil Kazakhstan Inc., INPEX North Caspian Sea Ltd., Shell Kazakhstan Development B.V., Total E&P Kazakhstan.