Politics, production levels to determine Caspian area energy export options

Caspian Sea region oil exports have a much brighter future than they did 2 years ago now that crude oil prices have risen again. Total production and transportation costs-excluding Russia's-for bringing Caspian oil to market is $8-10/bbl, so oil prices must be near $18/bbl to make Caspian oil investments worthwhile. Long-term projections foresee prices stabilizing at $22-27/bbl.The current exploration focus is on Kazakhstan's offshore Kashagan deposit and on gas discoveries in the South Caspian area. The dearth of drilling rigs operating in the landlocked Caspian Sea and recent price constraints have both played a role in restraining exploration to date. Russia's influenceCasp...

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