Kazakhstan reveals oil fields development plans in Caspian

By Aynur Karimova

Kazakhstan, an energy-rich Central Asian nation, has revealed its plans on development of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea in 2016. The country's Energy Ministry told Trend that it will hold conceptual study regarding the development of Kalamkas-Sea oil field in the Caspian Sea in the current year.

“Based on the research results, plan and budget for the field’s development will be prepared, after which the forecasted period for the start of production will be available,” the ministry said.

The Kalamkas-Sea field is a part of the North Caspian Project, which also includes the development of giant Kashagan field and smaller fields - Aktoty, Kairan and South-West Kashagan.

Geological reserves of the Kalamkas-Sea are estimated at 159 million tons of oil, while recoverable reserves at 57 million tons of oil. At the same time, conditions for oil production at Kalamkas-Sea are easier than on other fields of the project.

The ministry also plans additional evaluation work on Aktoty and Kairan fields.

Kazakhstan will carry out additional exploration work on the Kurmangazy oil field in the Caspian Sea in 2016.

“In 2016, it is planned to monitor the abandoned wells and develop the project of additional exploration work on the field," the ministry said.

In 2015, a monitoring of the abandoned wells was carried out on the Kurmangazy field. No production activities, including drilling and seismic surveys on the field were conducted last year.

The field is developed on the basis of a production sharing agreement between KazMunayTeniz and Rosneft. In 2006 and 2009, two exploration wells were drilled on Kurmangazy, but they didn’t reveal any signs of oil, despite the fact that the preliminary forecasts regarding the field were promising and were estimated at one billion tons of recoverable reserves. After that, it was proposed to close the project.

The ministry said that the decision to close the project was declined at the level of the governments of Kazakhstan and Russia and the contract remains in force. It was decided to resume exploration work at an intergovernmental commission meeting in 2014.

Forecasted reserves of the field are estimated at 2.8 billion tons of equivalent fuel, they are located in deep-seated Paleozoic sediments, and the exploration work is associated with high risks, according to the ministry.

Kazakhstan's plans on Central and Khvalynsk fields

Kazakhstan's Energy Ministry also noted that the country expects Russia in 2016 to grant rights for subsoil use regarding the Central field, according to previous agreements.

The Central field is located within the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea, but its development should be conducted with the participation of Kazakh partners.

Reserves of the field are estimated at 169.1 million tons of equivalent fuel. The term of the exploration license expired in 2009. The companies couldn’t obtain a new license, as Russian law forbade the work of private entities on the shelf.

In October 2015, the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan signed a protocol allowing Russian government to issue a license for the geologic exploration and production of oil and gas on the Central field.

After obtaining the rights for subsoil use, Kazakhstan plans to carry out design and survey work and assess the damage inflicted to aquatic bioresources from engineering research on this field.

It is planned to continue considering feasibility study of the field development and coordinate conditions of PSA regarding the Khvalynsk project as well.

Khvalynsk oil and gas condensate field is located in the northern part of the Caspian Sea and should be developed under the PSA. The reserves of the field are 322 billion cubic meters, 18.398 million tons of condensate, 241.897 million tons of oil.

Kazakhstan, which enjoys huge hydrocarbon reserves, produces oil mainly from its largest fields – Karachaganak and Tengiz.

The Karachaganak field's oil and gas reserves amount to 1.2 billion tons while its natural gas reserves are estimated at 1.35 trillion cubic meters.

About 49 percent of Kazakhstan's gas production and 18 percent of its produced oil are extracted from this field.

The Tengiz field in the west of the country is also one of the deepest and largest oil fields in the world. Total estimated reserves amount to three billion tons (26 billion barrels).

Another large oil and gas field – Kashagan – is located in the north of the Caspian Sea. Oil production at Kashagan started in September 2013, but its operation was suspended when a gas leak appeared along its pipeline.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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