ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- There are no changes in the operational plans for the giant Kashagan oil field off the coast of Kazakhstan, the country's deputy energy minister said.
Kazakh Deputy Energy Minister Uzakbai Karablin told an audience at an investment conference in the capital Astana commercial production from the field was expected about six weeks after operations are slated to begin in late 2016.
"All the work was planned for this period, and there are no changes for now," he was quoted by the regional Trend news agency as saying.
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.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration in a February 2014 report said Kashagan was expected 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.
Kazakhstan's government in February said it expects oil production to increase by as much as 30 percent in part because of operations at its giant Kashagan field.