15 Years of success
For over fifteen years Kazakhstan has been independently developing its innumerable natural wealth, including vast hydrocarbon resources. Although Kazakhstan oil has a secular history, the most significant events occurred here only after Kazakhstan had gained independence.
Oil and natural derivatives on the surface of the earth were known to indigenous people of ancient times. This is evidenced by the numerous Kazakh names of irrigation and hydrographic objects: stows, springs, wells, etc., such as Maitobe (oil hill), Karaarna (black bed), Maikomgen (oildisposal site), Karashungul (black depression), Zhaksymay (good oil), Karamay (black oil), Karaton (black consolidated soil), Munaily (oil), etc.
Oil of Independent Kazakhstan
In the early 1990s of the previous century, it was obvious that major discoveries that can dramatically increase the amount of developed oil and gas reserves in the country are only possible due to development of the Caspian Sea water area. In Soviet times, this entire area underwent marine geophysical surveys twice.During a decrease in the sea surface due to a fall in water level, prospecting and detailed geophysical activities were also carried out on the surface free of water. Geophysical surveys were carried out on a large part of the marine territory occupied by shallow water. A comprehensive interpretation of these surveys’ results identified large structures corresponding to the contours of the current Kashagan, Central, Kurmangazy, South Zhambay groups of structures. They were first reflected in the composite structural map of the Caspian Depression onthe reflective surface S2 created by Kazgeophysics Association in the late 1980s of the XX century. In 1993 these maps were finalized and published as an Atlas in association with the French company CGG. The explanatory note to this Atlas predicted high perspectives of these structures. The Atlas was approved by the then existing Ministry of Geology of the RoK, then distributed and sold to foreign oil companies including JSC “Kazakhstancaspishelf” that intended to work in Kazakhstan.
In 1988-1989 these materials were reviewed in the State Planning Committee of USSR and the whole region was referred to the area of strategic reserves of the Soviet Union. In December 1992, Kazakhstan announced its intention to carry out prospecting works in the Caspian Sea. In the second half of the same year, a group of Kazakhstan experts developed a State Program of Developing the Kazakhstan Sector of the Caspian Sea. Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan No 97 dated February 13, 1993 incorporateda state company Kazakhstancaspishelf for implementing the program for geological and geophysical survey and development of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea.
December 3, 1993. The Government of Kazkhastan signed an international agreement with foreign companies SHELL (the Netherlands), STATOIL (Norway), MOBIL (USA), BP (UK), TOTAL (France), AGIP (Italy) on establishment of the international consortium operated by SC “Kazakhstancaspishell” and directed by Zh.N. Marabayev. In 1994-1996, the water area of more than 100 thou. km2 underwent seismic, environmental, infrastructure and other surveys. Seismic surveys explored the regional structure of the Kazakhstan sector of the Caspian Sea, identified a large number of local traps including Kashagan, Kurmangazy, Kalamkas more and others, some of which were detailed for prospect drilling.
In 1997 the Government of Kazakhstan signed a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with OKIOC Consortium and in 1999 prospect drilling commenced.
InJuly 2000 the Consortium announced oil discovery in East Kashagan, well No 1. That same day, holding a capsule with oil from this well, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said: “Today is a red letter day for the people of Kazakhstan. Oil discovery in Kashagan is a great support for our independence, future prosperity and improvement of our people’s lives. High expectations of Kazakhstani have been met”.
Following East Kashagan, the fields West Kashagan, Kalamkas more, Kairan, Aktoty and South West Kashagan were discovered, and Shirotnoye and Khvalynskoye fields in the Russian sector. Kashagan discovery allowed increasing oil reserves in the country by 35%, Kashagan is supposed to produce its first oil in 2008. Now, preliminary and exploratory works are being conducted at Kashagan and a number of other fields of the Caspian Sea.