Oil volume extracted at Kashagan field announced

By Aynur Jafarova

Around 320,000 barrels of oil have been extracted at Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan field from the start of commercial production , the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) told Trend news agency.

"Oil is currently stored in tanks at the Bolashak plant," the company said on December 4. "The extracted oil will be refined, but only before it's ready for sale."

The company also noted oil which was in the pipeline connecting island D with the Bolashak plant, was extracted. It was also placed into crude oil tanks at the plant.

"Currently, the pipeline is being cleaned for thorough inspection using a robot," the company said. "Oil was pushed out of the pipeline by means of a so-called 'scraper' which are rubber plugs that are pushed through the pipeline. Such a process is a common practice in the oil industry."

Kashagan is one of the largest fields discovered in the past 40 years. Recoverable oil reserves of Kashagan are estimated at 11 billion barrels, whereas total geological crude reserves stand at 35 billion barrels. Besides, natural gas reserves are estimated at over 1 trillion cubic meters. The first well in the Kashagan field was reopened and first oil volumes were produced on September 11.

The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) - the operator of the North Caspian Project announced on October 9 that oil production from Kashagan field was suspended.

"Signs of a gas leak were detected in the second half of the day on October 9 during a planned inspection of the pipeline. This is constructed from Island D to the Bolashak plant at a distance of two kilometers from the plant in the sanitary protection zone," the company said.

Earlier a source close to the project told Trend that the results of an examination to reveal the cause of a gas leak at Kashagan field will be ready after December 15.

"According to an optimistic prognosis, oil production at the Kashagan field can be resumed after a year and according to the pessimistic prognosis after two years," the source said.

Another source in Kazakh oil and gas market told Trend that there are three possible dates of resumption of production at Kashagan field.

"Today we are considering three options concerning the date of resumption of oil production in Kashagan. The first is early April 2014, the second is during the whole next year, and the third during year and a half or two years," the source said.

The source also said in total 63 cases of gas leakage were found in the pipeline, and 15 of them -two leaks in the "body" of the pipeline, and 13 in the welds- were confirmed.

Official Kazakhstan media outlet reported that pipes at Kashagan field where a gas leak was detected have been replaced and sent for examination.

"Currently preparations are being carried out for examination of the pipeline with a special robotic device. The parts where the leaks were detected have been replaced and sent for examination to find the fault," the media outlet reported.

Meanwhile, some foreign media outlets reported that the Japanese Sumitomo company was a pipe supplier. NCOC has removed two Sumitomo pipes and sent them for examination.

The source confirmed that the pipes in the problematic sections were really extracted and sent for examination by authoritative experts.

"With a complete examination, we will find out the causes of leakage. For now it is too early to draw any definite conclusions about whether the Japanese company or someone else is guilty," the source said.