Production from the huge Kashagan oil field in the Caspian Sea, offshore Kazakhstan may not resume this year.
Following the start of production from the Kashagan field on 11 September 2013, the operations had to be stopped on 24 September, due to a gas leak in the onshore section of the gas pipeline running from D Island to the onshore processing facility “Bolashak”.
After the access to the line was secured and the respective joint replaced, production was resumed, but had to be stopped again on October 9th after a detection of a gas leak. Following repair of the affected joint, pressure tests were performed, revealing some other potential gas leaks.
Kazakhstan’s Minister of Oil and Gas Uzakbai Karabalin said today that the investigation into potential micro cracks in the field’s pipeline infrastructure is nearing completion and the results are expected in May. He said that if the investigation showed the problem was only with the onshore section of the pipeline, the resumption of production could be expected later this year. But he added that if the microcracks are discovered in the subsea pipelines, it would take longer for production to resume.
The Kashagan field represents the largest oil accumulation in the North Caspian Sea with estimated reserves of approximately 35 billion barrels of oil in place. Future development projects bear the potential to significantly increase production volumes and position Kashagan as an important contributor to the world energy market.