Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

KazCham



The Caspian corridor 0

Posted on April 25, 2010 by KazCham

AFTER SO MANY years of dependence on foreign  ! goodwill for the export of its oil, gas and mineral: the Kazakh government is insisting on a control stake in the new Kazakhstan Caspian Transport System (KCTS). This is designed to carry export pipelines south to a new port at Kuryk, south of Aktau, entirely through Kazakh territory.

New high-capacity pipelines within this corridq will run south for hundreds of kilometres from tilt giant, city-sized processing plant for Kashagan oil gas at Eskene, 30km north of the oil capital Atyrau, to a new port at Kuryk. From there oil and gas will be transported across the Caspian Sea to Baku. The new trunk pipelines running down the corridor will also be linked up to the many smaller fields being  developed either side of the route.

The oil companies, which are expected to foot  most of the bill for this multi-billion dollar project,  however, are still smarting from their loss of control  over the CPC pipeline through Russia, which they also financed and initially operated. As the main financiers and big future users of the KCTS, the international oil companies want to ensure that they retain as much  influence as possible over future managements.

A conclusion to months of hard bargaining between -government and the oil companies had not been  reached at time of writing, but a compromise deal is  expected shortly.

The main purpose of the KCTS is to ensure that  western Kazakhstan has the export capacity to cope  with the expected doubling of oil and gas production  when the Kashagan field comes on stream in four  years’ time. It will ensure that rising oil and gas  production from the country’s three biggest fields  – Kashagan, Karachaganak and Tengiz – as well as  dozens of smaller fields in western Kazakhstan will  flow down pipes, ports and railways under Kazakh  jurisdiction and not require transit payments to  foreign governments.

The KCTS will constitute a major strategic  resource for Kazakhstan, which used to be totally  dependent on transit through Russia to reach export  markets but is now rapidly developing into a major  transit country in its own right, with high-capacity  pipelines running 3,000km east to China and hopes  of developing further routes south through Iran –  international politics permitting.

The new corridor will not only carry Kazakh oil  and gas to Kuryk. It is also expected to accommodate  up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of gas flowing  north from Turkmenistan to Russia. But building  this northbound pipeline is conditional on  implementation of an agreement signed in 2007  between Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.  This was to enable Russia to raise gas imports from  Central Asia. But Moscow seems to be reviewing this  agreement in the light of a sharp decline in demand  for gas from Gazprom’s recession-hit domestic and  European consumers.

On past performance, the end result of current  negotiations between the Kazakh government and  oil companies over how the KCTS corridor is to be  managed is likely to be a compromise that leaves both sides reasonably satisfied. The expected benefits from  the new corridor are, after all, huge for all concerned.

From the Eskene processing plant, equivalent  in size to the city of Amsterdam, the corridor will  terminate at Kuryk, a sheltered, relatively deep-water  site chosen for the large new oil and gas export  facility. From there a fleet of oil tankers will ferry oil  some 700km across the Caspian Sea to new importing h facilities south of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijans

At some point in the future, gas may also be  transported under the Caspian in pipelines and  President Nazarbayev has also expressed his interest  in a possible liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to  freeze natural gas and transport it in special LNG  ships across the Caspian to a de-freezing plant on the  Azeri shores.

Eskene, which is some 35km north of Atyrau,  will process oil from the offshore Kashagan field,  and three other smaller fields in the concession are  currently being developed by Exxon-Mobil.

The complex will start operating when the first  oil comes from Kashagan around the fourth quarter  of 2012. Production will then build up rapidly as  Kashagan alone is expected to produce some  1.5 million barrels a day before the end of the next  decade. The hot, corrosive oil which forces its way  to the surface from the Skm-deep deposits needs to  be stripped of deadly hydrogen sulphide and other  poisonous gases as well as foul-smelling mercaptans  and other pollutantss

These involuntary by-products of making the oil  and gas safe for transport will be used as feedstock for a proposed $6.5 billion petrochemical plant, which  the government is discussing with deep-pocketed  investors from the Gulf States.

Invest in Kazakhstan An official publication of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2009. Pages: 52-53.

KazCham representatives on MINEX and KazRefinEx 0

Posted on April 03, 2010 by Sergey Sek

Sergey Sek, Business Development of KazCham attended Minex Central Asia 2010 in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan on 16-18 March and KazRefinEx 5th Annual International Symposium and Exhibition on Refining and Petrochemistry on 25 – 26 March.

MINEX can be described as a post-crisis mining and exploration event for Central Asian Mining Industry. The forum’s main objective was to highlight current state and midterm perspectives for mining and exploration in Kazakhstan and Central Asian states recovering from the effects of the global economic crisis. According to the feedback received from the forum participants Minex Central Asia has become a significant international business, know-how and investment platform for Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

The three day agenda of the pre-forum master classes and the main forum featured over 60 speaker presentations of the leading mining companies, the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, the National Welfare Fund “Samruk Kazyna”, The state geological and subsoil use Committee of Kazakhstan, international investment banks, Stock Exchanges, Mining and Financial consulting firms, etc. Despite turbulent weather conditions the forum brought together over 400 delegates from 150 companies and foreign missions from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Japan, China, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, India and the Netherland.

KazRefinEx gathered key branch experts from Kazakhstan, Europe and Central Asia in Almaty, to give the audience an opportunity to receive information about the prospects of deep processing of hydrocarbon raw materials and implementing specific breakthrough investment projects in the petrochemical industry at the level of the world economy for the coming year, as they say, “first hand”.

Today, the Kazakhstan oil and gas industry faces several key challenges in Kazakhstan, including the provision of deep processing of hydrocarbon raw materials, development of petrochemical industries. Currently, the Fund Samruk-Kazyna considered 31 projects in various spheres of the economy of the republic. The total cost of these projects amounts to more than $ 23 billion, of which the sphere of oil refining and petrochemicals will be about 11 billion U.S. dollars, including the reconstruction projects is upgrading three refineries of the country.

The Caspian basin’s biggest gas condensate field pauses for breath 0

Posted on March 10, 2010 by KazCham

KARACHAGANAK, ONE OF the world’s largest gas  condensate fields, with estimated reserves of more  than 1.2 billion tonnes of oil and condensate, was  discovered and initially operated in Soviet times, as  was Tengiz some 650km to the west. But coping with h the complexity and high pressures of both fields  was way beyond the technical and organisational  capabilities of the Soviet oil and gas industry.

Repairing the legacy of leaking pipes, abandoned  equipment and ecological devastation was one of the first tasks facing UK-based BG Group and Italy’s ENI,  the operators of the Karachaganak field, who brought Texaco (now absorbed into Chevron) and Russia’s  Lukoil into their consortium, before signing a 40-year production-sharing agreement with the government  in 1997.

Over the intervening 12 years, Karachaganak, like  Tengiz, has changed out of recognition to become  one of the most modern and productive oilfields in  the world. It delivered around 12 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas last year, more than six times the Soviet  peak level, and around 230,000 barrels a day of oil  and condensate. But after more than a decade of  heavy investment, the consortium operating the field has decided to take a breather and see how the global economy develops before pushing ahead with stage  three of the field’s developments

The initial $1 billion rehabilitation programme  got underway in 2000 after BG and ENI set up the  Karachaganak Petroleum Operating consortium  (KPO), in which the joint operators held 32.5 per cent each, while Chevron-Texaco took a 20 per cent stake  and Lukoil the remaining 15 per cent.

KPO remains the only one of the three Caspian  mega-project consortia to be entirely foreign-owned.  But the combination of a 65 per cent majority  holding in the hands of the joint operators, and  supportive minority stakeholders, appears to  have contributed to the smooth running of what  has become one of the most successful foreign  investments in the country.

Prior to the onset of the global crisis, KPO was  bracing itself for a government-backed bid by the  state energy corporation KMG for a minority stake  in the project, along the lines of KMG’s stakes in the TengizChevroil and Kashagan Consortia.

But faced with a severe banking and construction ^ sector crisis, and a collapsing oil price, the  government appears to have quietly backed away  from a policy that threatened to load KMG with  another heavy investment commitment it would  struggle to deliver. KPO also argued against the risk  of unsettling a proven successful operation, which  was generating tax revenues and creating skilled jobs for thousands of Kazakh citizens in an otherwise  backwater region of the country close to the  Russian border.

Important as its Kazakh operations are to BG,  senior management also indicated that developing  its deep offshore gas fields south of Brazil’s Rio de  Janeiro, and producing methane gas from coal in  Australia, were actually more attractive investment  propositions than producing more gas in landlocked  Kazakhstan in the global scheme of things.

BG alone claims to have invested $2.5 billion  in Karachaganak over the last eight years when  production of high-value gas condensate and gas  for sale to Russia’s Gazprom has risen on average by 18 per cent a year since 1998 to around 136,000 barrels of  oil equivalent a day. Export volumes of condensate are  expected to rise to 10.3 million tonnes a year after a  fourth ‘stabilisation train’ is completed by 2010.

Development is continuing at Karachaganak,  where up to 20 wells are being drilled in the first  stage of phase three of the field’s development.  This will improve oil recovery by increasing both  gas production for sale and re-injection. But the  consortium has called a halt for the time being on  the fuller implementation of stage three, which  entails construction of a $1.5 billion gas refinery and  development of gas sales to the domestic market and  possibly to China, as well as the traditional sales to  Russia’s Gazprom via Orenburg.

Successful completion of both the initial  rehabilitation of the existing field and the $5 billion  second stage has raised volumes and stabilised the  long-term production profile, thanks to powerful  sour-gas re-injection compressors and complex  gas treatment equipment the size of a small city.  Investment to date ensures efficient long-term  exploitation of the unique l,450m-deep column  of gas underground and the 200m-thick rim of oil  beneath it. Together the reservoirs hold an estimated -» l,200bcm of gas and more than 1 billion tonnes of gas condensate and oil.

At present, Karachaganak sends the bulk of its  gas to Gazprom’s processing plant at Orenburg, just  across the Russian frontier. This continues a practice  that began in Soviet times when Karachaganak was  essentially a subsidiary of the Orenburg complex,  with which it shares the same geological structure.  But in order to get a better return than what  would come from merely selling gas to the Russian  monopoly purchaser, KPO has built a 125mw gas-fired power station to satisfy Karachaganak’s own power  needs and a 165km pipeline to supply gas to the  nearest Kazakh town of Uralsk.

This helps to improve relations with the local  community and conforms with the government’s  overall strategy of reducing dependence on imported  gas. Since Soviet days, Kazakhstan has imported  gas from Russia to supply northern Kazakhstan,  and from Uzbekistan to supply gas to the populous  southern cities of Almaty and Shymkent, as well as to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Within a few months, southern Kazakhstan will  be able to tap into the lObcm of gas being carried  from Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan across more  than 1,000km of southern Kazakhstan to the Chinese h border, 200km east of Almaty. The capacity of this  new southern export route to the east will triple to  30bcm in a few years. The route will also completely  transform the domestic gas supply situation for  southern Kazakhstan and open up a bottomless  market in China, ending Gazprom’s former  monopoly-buyer advantages.

Once growth returns to the global economy, KPO is  expected to give the green light to full implementation of stage three of Karachaganak. But in the meantime,  both shareholders and the government benefit from  this breathing space, as it allows shareholders to get  a return on their investment to date and boosts tax  revenue for the government.

Invest in Kazakhstan An official publication of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2009. Pages: 40-41.



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