Further seismic at Kashagan field off Kazakhstan

Western GECO, the joint venture company formed by Schlumberger Ltd. and Baker Hughes Inc., will start shooting a 3D seismic program this week over the east flank of the North Caspian Sea consortium's giant Kashagan discovery off Kazakhstan.


Darius V. Snieckus
OGJ Online

LONDON, July 3 -- Western GECO, the joint venture company formed by Schlumberger Ltd. and Baker Hughes Inc., this week will start shooting an 3D seismic program over the east flank of the North Caspian Sea consortium's giant Kashagan discovery off Kazakhstan.

That move is part of accelerated development plans for the field, officials said. Domenico Spada, Kashagan operator ENI SPA's vice-president for E&P in the region, said the seismic acquisition, covering 1,600 km, would be carried out using vessels specially adapted for the water depths ranging from 2-10 m.

Drilling at the field, where exploration wells KW1 and KE1 have been spudded and the first of 5 appraisal wells is underway, is to continue through to 2003, said Spada, speaking at the Kazakhstan Oil & Gas conference.

A second yet-unnamed drilling unit will join the Sunkar rig currently operating on the 11-block production-sharing contract area. Members of the consortium include Royal/Dutch Shell Group, BG PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Phillips Petroleum Co., and Inpex Masela Ltd. The PSC area covers more than 5,500 sq km.

Spada added that ENI thought it could shave several years off the development schedule for Kashagan, bringing the oil/condensate field to first flow in 2005. He acknowledged that the new on stream date was "ambitious," but dismissed suggestions that the Kazakhstan government had pressured the operator to speed up the development. "Everybody likes to have an early cashflow," he said.

Reserves estimates at the Kashagan discovery range from 25 to 60 billion bbl of oil. Spada said any tighter estimate would be "premature."

Partners in the Kashagan PSC are TotalFinaElf AS (18.56%), ENI (14.28%), BG PLC (14.28%), ExxonMobil Corp. (14.28%), the Royal Dutch/Shell Group (14.28%), Inpex Masela Ltd. (7.14%), and Phillips Petroleum Co. (7.14%).

Contact Darius V. Snieckus at dsnieckus@ogjonline.com

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