Kashagan produces in advance
Since the resumption in 2016 of the oil production at the Kashagan field overseen by the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) consortium in Atyrau region, 17.5 million tons of oil and 5 billion cubic meters of gas have been extracted. "All raw materials were delivered to the world market, and more than 700,000 tons of sulfur were derived from Kashagan oil and also exported," Bruno Jardin, Managing Director of NCOC said during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Kashagan project's launch in Atyrau.
As news agency S&P Global Platts writes in the article Kazakhstan's Kashagan consortium eyes 470,000 b/d phase 1 crude oil output with a reference to Bruno Jardin, oil production at Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan field could be as high as 470,000 b/d under its first development phase. He also noted plans for a big maintenance shutdown, and for development of nearby fields with China's CMOC.
Moreover, Jardin outlined plans to raise production beyond the official target for phase 1 of 370,000 b/d, without entering a formal second phase of development. He did not specify a timeline, but said NCOC was "dedicated" to reaching the official phase 1 capacity of 370,000 b/d "as early as possible" and keeping a "pipeline of projects" full. He said Kashagan was now demonstrating its reliability, following the delayed start of production in 2016, and had reached monthly production levels of 1 million mt (roughly 250,000 b/d) in four months of this year. Recent reports have suggested production has at times reached well over 300,000 b/d.
"NCOC has an opportunity to increase the capital effectiveness of the assets in which we have already invested with next steps that could take us beyond 370,000 b/d," he said. "These include upgrading the raw gas injection compressors located offshore to increase production by an additional 20,000-25,000 b/d; adding raw gas injection compression capacity offshore on an existing or new island, de-bottlenecking our offshore and onshore facilities, additional drilling, and additional pipelines between facilities."
"All these improvements could potentially add up to another 100,000 b/d or more of capacity," he said. On next year's planned shutdown he said this would span the onshore Bolashak processing center and the main artificial island in the Caspian Sea built for Kashagan production: D-Island. "This will be a complete shutdown of our operations to conduct technical inspection and scheduled maintenance of equipment. It will be the first time... that we will conduct such a large-scale operations, involving thousands of contractors. The whole NCOC organization is now preparing for this event to make it a success," he said.
Jardin also noted plans for a combined development of two fields in the vicinity, Kalamkas, and CMOC's Khazar, saying "early engineering" had begun and a development plan would be submitted to the authorities next year.
The combined recoverable reserves at the two fields are 500 million barrels of oil, and 9 Bcm, or 300 Bcf, of gas, he said. "This cooperative development maximizes synergies and contributes to the economic viability of both the Kalamkas and Khazar projects," he said.