IEA upbeat on Kazakh oil potential

Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:08 AM

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Kazakhstan is on pace to become a global leader in oil production over the course of the next few decades, a visiting IEA delegate said.

Ulrich Bentersbuch, director of global energy policy for the International Energy Agency, said oil exports from Kazakhstan should more than double by 2035.

"Kazakhstan is set to become the fourth-largest contributor to global oil-production growth," he said in a statement from Astana.

The Kashagan oil field in the country is one of the largest in the world, with as much as 16 billion barrels of estimated commercial reserves. Its Karachaganak field holds about 2.4 billion barrels of oil and an estimated 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Apart from oil and natural gas, the IEA director praised Kazakhstan for its green energy initiatives. The government there set a goal of generating 4 percent of its electricity through wind power by 2020 and to cut energy consumption by 10 percent of their 2008 levels by 2015.

A subsidiary of Italian energy company Eni was accused in May of corruption in Kazakhstan. The company was suspected of offering bribes to high-ranking officials.

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