ABU DHABI Nov 10 Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan
oilfield will not be able to restart production before the end
of 2013, said the chief executive of French oil company Total
, one of the partners in the project.
Kazakhstan has been looking forward to revenues from
Kashagan, which took nearly 13 years and about $50 billion to
complete. It is the world's costliest oil project but also the
biggest global oil find in decades - forecast to total 8 million
tonnes next year, rising to 12 million tonnes in 2015.
However, production was halted two weeks after its September
launch when a gas leak was found. Another leak was found in
October after a brief restart.
On Sunday Christophe de Margerie told a news conference in
Abu Dhabi that Kashagan, in the Caspian Sea off western
Kazakhstan, would not be able to start production again before
the end of the year.
"It's more than simply repairing pipes," he said, adding the
consortium must be sure before restarting production that the
whole piping system would operate safely over the long term.
The consortium operating the field includes Kazakh state oil
firm KazMunaiGas, Italy's ENI, U.S. major ExxonMobil
, Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total
. Each own 16.81 percent.
Japan's Inpex 1605.T owns 7.56 percent. China National
Petroleum Corp CNPET.UL (CNPC) acquired a 8.33 percent stake
Kazakhstan is the second-largest post-Soviet producer after
Russia - which holds 3 percent of global recoverable oil
reserves - and hopes Kashagan can help it join the world's
superleague of oil producers.
According to earlier comments by top Kazakh oil industry
officials, the field's daily output before the second leak had
exceeded 60,000 barrels per day (bpd). The field had been due to
achieve commercial output of 75,000 bpd this month.
The deal, estimated to be worth $5 billion, followed
Kazakhstan's decision in July to use its pre-emptive rights to
buy an 8.40 percent stake from U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips
COP.N in the field for a similar price.