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ASTANA, November 13, 11:49 /ITAR-TASS/.
A date for the resumption of oil production at Kashagan, a huge oil field off the coast of Kazakhstan, in the Caspian Sea, will become known no earlier than the middle of December, Kazakh Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbai Karabalin told reporters on Wednesday.
“This will become known after all analyses that are now underway are completed. They can last until mid-December as contractors (members of the North Caspian Sea Consortium, the project’s operator - Itar-Tass) say,” Karabalin said, adding that the field’s oil production could be suspended until this time.
Christophe de Margerie, chief executive officer of France’s Total, one of the biggest shareholders in the North Caspian Sea Consortium, told a news conference that it did not seem possible to resume the oil production at Kashagan in full until the end of the year.
The field’s oil production was suspended on September 25 after a gas leak at one of the pipelines. Karabalin said this incident would not influence the field’s commercial oil output. On October 6, the oil production was restarted after repairs, but then was soon suspended.
The field’s oil reserves are estimated at 35 billion barrels, of them 11 billion barrels are considered recoverable. The field is developed by Italy’s Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, the United States’ Exxon Mobil, France’s Total and Kazakhstan’s KazMunaiGaz that own equal shares of 16.81 percent. On September 7, 2013, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) joined the project with an 8.3 percent stake. A 7.55 percent stake is owned by Japan’s Inpex.