Kashagan moves toward start of production

North Caspian Operating Co. (NCOC) has begun pressuring the onshore Bolashak Processing Facility with sweet gas in preparation for the start of oil and gas production later this year from giant Kashagan field offshore Kazakhstan (OGJ, Oct. 22, 2012, p. 22).

Construction on two artificial islands is nearly complete, NCOC said in a press statement.

Production is to begin from eight wells on the artificial island designated A. The wells and pipeline system are ready for production. Production treatment facilities on the other artificial island, D, are in final stages of commissioning.

Twenty of 40 wells planned in the first phase of production have been drilled into the high-pressure reservoir, at about 4,200 m under 3-6 m of water. Eleven wells have been partly drilled.

In the first phase, production will rise to design capacity of 180,000 b/d during 2013-14 in an initial stage, then to 370,000 b/d in a second stage.

The field, 80 km southeast of Atyrau, and its satellites hold an estimated 35 billion bbl of oil in place, 90-13 billion bbl recoverable. Reservoir fluids contain about 15% hydrogen sulfide and 4% carbon dioxide.

Sweet gas used in the Bolashak start-up comes from local supplies.

During the first phase of Kashagan production, about half the produced gas will be reinjected into the reservoir. Separate pipelines will carry produced liquids and raw gas to the Bolashak plant, which will treat oil for export. Some of the processed gas will be returned to the field to fuel operations, and some will fuel the onshore plant.

NCOC operates the 5,600-sq-km North Caspian Production Sharing Agreement Contract Area on behalf of a group of seven companies. It delegates operations to four agent companies: Agip, Shell Development Kashagan, ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Inc., and NC Production Operations Co. NC Production is a joint venture of state-owned KMG (KazMunayGas) Kashagan and Shell Kazakhstan Development.

Equity interests of the consortium partners are KMG, Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total, 16.81% each; ConocoPhillips, 8.4%; and INPEX 7.56%.

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