Eni announced that first oil from the giant Kashagan oil field has been produced. The oilfield is located in the North Caspian Sea, approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Atyrau, in Kazakhstan.
Eni holds a 16.81% stake in the consortium for the development of Kashagan and through Agip KCO is responsible for developing and start of production of the field.
|Map of the field. Click to enlarge.|
The other partners in the consortium, represented by the operator NCOC (North Caspian Operating Company) which operates within the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA), are KazMunayGas (16.81%), ExxonMobil (16.81%), Shell (16.81%), Total (16.81%), ConocoPhillips (8.4%) and Inpex (7.56%).
In the initial phase output will grow up to 180,000 barrels per day. Afterwards, the production will increase progressively up to 370,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Kashagan is one of the largest oil fields discovered in the last 40 years, with estimated reserves of 35 billion barrels of oil in place. Considering the size, the specifications, the environmental and logistical characteristics, Kashagan is also one of the most complex and challenging industrial projects worldwide, Eni said.
The reservoir is marked by a high proportion of natural gas under high pressure, the presence of high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and harsh and fluctuating environmental conditions. Because Kashagan is a shallow water field, the project scheme provides for the construction of production hubs located on platforms and artificial islands which will collect production from satellite islands from which production wells will be drilled.
For the first development phase oil and non-reinjected gas will be treated in the hubs and delivered, through two separate lines, to onshore treatment plants (located at Bolashak, near Atyrau). The oil will be further stabilized and purified. Natural gas will be treated for the removal of hydrogen sulfide and will be mostly used as fuel for the production plants; the remaining amount will be marketed.
Development of the field has been marked by delay—the original startup date was 2005—and cost overruns.