Agip tapped to take Kashagan operatorship

ENI SPA Wednesday said its subsidiary Agip Caspian Sea BV had been named operator of the North Caspian Sea project production sharing agreement, which includes the giant Kashagan oil field off Kazakhstan. The Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Co. formerly was in charge.


By the OGJ Online Staff

LONDON, Feb. 14�ENI SPA Wednesday confirmed that its subsidiary Agip Caspian Sea BV had been named operator of the North Caspian Sea project production sharing agreement, which includes the giant Kashagan oil field off Kazakhstan.

Agip was chosen to operate the PSC's 11-block contract area by North Caspian Sea project partners the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, BG PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Phillips Petroleum Co., and Inpex Masela Ltd. The PSC had been directed by the Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Co.

The contract area covers more than 5,500 km, in water depths ranging from 2-10 m.

A second exploration well is being drilled on the Kashagan structure, which ENI CEO Vittorio Mincato said was "one of the most promising oil discoveries in recent years."

ENI said, "Considering the hydrocarbon potential of the existing structures and the area's challenging technological and operational aspects, mainly due to a context of shallow waters and icy weather conditions for about 6 months of the year, this project constitutes an industrial venture of major importance."

TotalFinaElf SA had been expected to become operator after announcing Monday it would buy Statoil AS's 4.76% share in the development. The deal, once finalized, would have built up the Franco-Belgian energy company's stake in OKIOC to 28.6%, making it the single largest shareholder.

Determining the size of the Kashagan discovery has been difficult, but reserves estimates are 25�60 billion bbl of oil. A second exploration well was spudded last October, and appraisal should take place early this summer.

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