* Oil output at Kashagan halted in October due to gas leak
* CPC pipeline capacity to be expanded by 50 pct next year
MOSCOW Dec 2 The Caspian pipeline CPC expects
to receive oil from the huge Kashagan oilfield, now idle, in May
or June and to boost the conduit's capacity by 50 percent next
year, sources at the consortium said on Monday.
Kazakhstan's Kashagan oilfield, the world's biggest crude
discovery in half a century, has been out of operation since
October due to a gas leak.
"We will be ready to take all the Kashagan oil when the
output resumes in May-June, as expected," a source said.
A second source said the annual capacity of the Caspian
Pipeline Consortium (CPC) would increase next year to 48 million
tonnes (almost 1 million barrels per day) from 32 million now.
CPC is an important route for the oil from Kashagan, an
offshore oil project in the Caspian Sea. The difficulties in
pumping oil from Kashagan create a logistical nightmare for the
project, developed by international majors.
Repeated delays have infuriated the Kazakh government, which
has threatened to fine the NCOC consortium operating the
Some industry watchers believe Kashagan can only be
restarted close to 2015, though French oil company Total
, one of the partners in the project, has previously
said the oilfield could still restart this winter.
NCOC includes Kazakh state oil firm KazMunaiGas,
Italy's Eni through its Agip unit, U.S.-based Exxon Mobil
, Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch Shell and Total
of France. Each owns 16.81 percent.
Japanese firm Inpex owns 7.56 percent. China
National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) acquired an 8.33
percent stake this year as U.S.-based ConocoPhillips
The CPC pipeline expansion has been postponed for years and
the delays have already made Russia a surprise favourite to ship
the first oil from Kashagan to world markets, adding to
headaches for the world's most expensive oil development.
CPC mainly ships oil from Kazakhstan's large Tengiz and
Karachaganak fields to an export terminal near the Russian Black
Sea port of Novorossiisk.
The conduit was launched more than 10 years ago and gave the
Caspian Sea region a viable alternative to Russian state
CPC had expected to start shipping oil from the Kashagan
field from October, but the plan had to be put on hold soon
after its launch.
Central Asia's largest economy and the second-largest
ex-Soviet oil producer after Russia, Kazakhstan has forecast the
Kashagan field will produce 1 million barrels per day from 2020
and eventually reach 1.5 million bpd.