ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Kazakhstan's government said Wednesday it expects oil production to increase by as much as 30 percent in part because of operations at its giant Kashagan field.
Kashagan is among the largest oil fields in the world, with an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil reserves. Production was halted in October 2013, less than a month after it started, when a pipeline associated with the field cracked open.
Kazakh Deputy Energy Minister Uzakbai Karabalin told reporters the government in Astana is determined to increase production despite a series of setbacks.
"Oil output is expected to reach 630 million barrels in 2017 and 760 million barrels in 2020," he said. "This increase will be due to the expansion project at [onshore oil field] Tengiz and resumption of offshore oil production at Kashagan."
Kazakh production last year was around 590 million barrels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration in February 2014 said it expected Kashagan to return to service this year, but below its initial production target of 370,000 barrels per day "because technical challenges and high development costs may limit its expansion."
Two months after the EIA report, experts reviewing pipeline issues at the field said it may cost as much as 15 times more than initially expected to restart the field.
The energy minister said work was ongoing to overhaul the field's pipeline infrastructure. Most of the work will take place in the latter half of 2015, with a resumption of operations expected by 2016.