Operations in Kazakhstan' Caspian postponed
The commencement of operations on Kazakhstan's oil and gas fields has been postponed until the spring of 1999.
The postponement was caused by the shallowing of the Caspian Sea near the Vostochny Kashagan deposit because of the summer drought, Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company told.
The company has been created for underwater surveying by eight oil transnational companies, including Mobil, Shell and British Gas International.
The Russian company Astrakhansky Korabel will modernise a barge with a drilling rig to be furnished with light
production equipment. The modernisation is due to be completed by mid- February 1999. But the barge will be able to
reach the area where the first prospecting well is to be drilled in the north-eastern part of the Caspian Sea only in
April where the lower Volga and the adjacent areas are cleared of the ice.
Kazakhstan hopes that its participation in the development of the Vostochny Kashagan deposit, which is believed to contain 1.5 bn tonnes of oil, will make it one of the leading oil- producing nations in the world.
According to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev this should happen in 2003-2004.
Kazakhstan hopes that the new operations on the Caspian Sea will increase its oil production from 25-26 mm tpy to 50- 60 mm tpy of oil and boost oil exports.