Work to start-up production on the Caspian Sea Kashagan development has begun, the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) has said.
The first phase of the development will see oil and gas produced from eight wells on an artificial island complex in the north Caspian Sea.
NCOC said the wells, pipeline system and the Bolashak Onshore Processing facility, were complete. Offshore production and treatment facilities on the artificial island complex were in the final stages of commissioning.
“During 2013/14, production will be progressively ramped up to the design capacity from 180,000 b/d in the first stage to 370,000 bls/d in the second stage,” said NCOC.
The company added: “This production capacity reflects only the first phase of development; Kashagan and the neighbouring fields in the North Caspian Sea hold estimated reserves of some 35billion bbls in place and future development projects bear the potential to significantly increase production volumes and position Kashagan as an important contributor to the world energy market.”
The Kashagan field is located in the Kazakhstan sector of the Caspian Sea, 75km southeast of the city of Atyrau. The reservoir lies about 4,200m deep, beneath 3–5m water, and extends over an area of about 75km by 45km.
The field was first discovered in 2000 and was initially planned to begin producing oil in 2005. However, numerous technical setbacks delayed the project and increased costs.
Image: An NCOC illustration of the Kashagan project.