Kashagan oil restart plans under review

Jan. 9, 2014 at 8:04 AM
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ALMATY, Kazakhstan, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The consortium managing the Kashagan oil field off Kazakhstan's coast said it was mulling options to restart production halted by an October pipeline incident.

Kashagan is one of the largest oil fields in the world, with an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil reserves. Production was halted in October when a pipeline associated with the field cracked open.

The North Caspian Operating Co., a consortium developing the field, said it was in the early stages of weighing options for a safe restart of production.

"Operator has begun early consideration of technological scenarios for a safe start up," it said in a statement Wednesday. "The scenarios would highly depend on the results of data interpretation as well as many other factors."

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in an October profile of Kazakhstan that Kashagan suffered several "repeated delays" that it says were associated with the high cost of operating the offshore field.

"Laboratory analysis and simulations of the operational environment with samples from the pipeline have reached a conclusion that the specifications for the pipeline material were appropriate for the conditions of Kashagan field," the operator said.

The first barrels of oil were produced from the field in the Caspian Sea in September.

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