Kashagan Accident Won't Delay Commercial Output-Minister


ASTANA, Sept 26 (Reuters) – An accident has halted production at Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan offshore oilfield two weeks after its launch, but this will not delay the start of commercial output in October, the Kazakh oil and gas minister said.

It took nearly 13 years and about $50 billion before first oil was produced on Sept. 11 at the field in the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan expects it to produce around 8 million tonnes of crude in 2014 and eventually reach 1.5 million barrels per day.

The multi-national consortium developing Kashagan needs to launch commercial output by an October deadline or faces fines under a production-sharing agreement with Kazakhstan.

"Production was stopped yesterday", due to a gas leak, Minister Uzakbai Karabalin told reporters on Thursday. "We believe it will take three or four days to fix it."

The emergency situations department of the Atyrau region in western Kazakhstan, where Kashagan is located, said there were no casualties or threats to personnel.

Asked whether the accident could delay the start of commercial output, Karabalin said: "We believe that it should have no impact."

The consortium developing the field could not be immediately reached for comment.


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