ASTANA, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan's oil production could slump sharply over the longer term if no new deposits are developed, its oil minister said on Tuesday, just days after the launch of output at the huge Kashagan oilfield.
Kashagan, located in the Caspian Sea off western Kazakhstan, produced its first oil last week after years of delay and some $50 billion invested by a multi-national consortium to date.
For Kazakhstan, the launch of output at the world's biggest oil find in decades revitalised hopes of oil-driven prosperity.
The second-largest oil producer after Russia among former Soviet states, Kazakhstan forecasts its oil exports will peak at over 90 million tonnes in 2025, Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbai Karabalin told a government meeting.
The vast steppe nation of 17 million, which is Central Asia's largest economy and holds 3 percent of global recoverable oil reserves, exported 68.14 million tonnes of crude oil and gas condensate last year, official statistics show.
Citing a "pessimistic scenario", Karabalin said Kazakhstan's oil output would peak at about 110 million tonnes by 2030.
"Our optimistic plan will depend on the approval of further stages of development at Kashagan and other large deposits and, besides, on whether we will be able to launch new fields that can be discovered over this period," Karabalin said.
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