Aker Kvaerner to Provide Services for Caspian Barges

Aker Kvaerner has signed a letter of intent to perform fabrication, outfitting and testing of seven barges for oil production in the giant Kashagan oilfield in the north Caspian Sea, offshore Kazakhstan.

In the letter of intent, Agip Kazakhstan North Caspian Operating Company N.V. and Aker Kvaerner confirm their intentions to complete final negotiations and sign a contract for the work later this autumn. The work on the project starts immediately under an interim agreement.

"This project is an important stepping stone in Aker Kvaerner's North Caspian Sea strategy in general and for the Kazakhstan offshore market in particular," said executive vice president Simen Lieungh in Aker Kvaerner. Extensive field development will go on in the Kashagan field for the next 10 to 15 years.

"The North Caspian Sea, is a very attractive area for Aker Kvaerner. We have clear intentions on growing our business in the Kazakhstan-based oil and gas industry and will position ourselves to compete for hook up, maintenance, modifications and operations in the Kazakhstan market. As part of this, we will work with local parties on the current projects and seek new partners for future opportunities in the region," Mr. Lieungh added. He emphasizes that this award demonstrates Aker Kvaerner's position as a competitive contractor in the oil and gas industry.

The letter of intent covers fabrication, outfitting and testing of seven barge modules, including three oil separation barges, two gas dehydration and glycol regeneration barges, one emergency power generation and utilities barge and one fire fighting/sea water barge. All of them will be 95 meters long, 16 meters broad and 5.5 meters high. After delivery, they will be installed on pre-installed piles and hooked up in waters 4 to 6 meters deep, as part of the first phase of the Kashagan development project.

The barge hulls will be fabricated at the Aker Tulcea and Braila Yards in Romania. Six of the hulls will be towed to Kvaerner Egersund for outfitting and testing, while one will be towed to Astrakhan Korabel Yard in Astrakhan, for completion. They will all be transported on the Volga and Don rivers to the Caspian Sea.

The partners in the Kashagan project include Eni (Agip, operator), ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, British Gas each with 16.67 percent interest, and ConocoPhillips and Inpex, with 8.33 percent each.

The contract will be signed by Aker Kvaerner Engineering & Technology AS, a company within the Aker Kvaerner group.