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ASTANA. April 6. KAZINFORM. When the Kashagan oil field was discovered not far from Atyrau in Kazakhstan’s sector of the Caspian Sea in 2002, it ranked as the world’s fifth largest oil field with estimated recoverable reserves of seven to nine billion barrels. That field, now being developed by an international consortium with an expenditure of 29 billion dollars, is expected to start commercial production in 2009 zooming Kazakhstan to top ranks of the world’s oil producers. Now Kazakh officials say another huge field could be lying under the Caspian seabed further south with reserves comparable to Kashagan, located in the shallow waters of the northern Caspian. In an interview with the Ogni Mangistau newspaper, Lyazzat Kiinov, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources said several prospective structures in the offshore Caspian may indeed be domes of one huge field. ‘The offshore structures Nursultan, Rakushechnoe-More and Ulytau at the N Bloc may indeed be domes of one large structure and give us a second СKashagan’, and possibly a field that is even larger,’ Kiinov said. Exploratory work in this area was originally started in the 1960s, Kiinov explained. Just as with other Caspian offshore fields, though, the Soviet government decided not to pursue their development for lack of appropriate technologies opting instead to tap easier onshore fields in Siberia. According to Kiinov, the second potential ‘Kashagan’ occupies an area of 7,625 square kilometers in sea depths reaching 340 meters. The N Bloc includes 10 prospective structures with an aggregate prospective geological reserve amounting to 1,484 million tons of oil and 116 billion cubic meters of natural gas. With the probability of success at 35 percent, it is believed possible to access 191 million tons of extractable oil reserves. Experts rate the probability of success very highly based on large sizes of these structures and relatively simple geological composition. The Nursultan and Rakushechnoe-More structures have been located within the N Bloc licensed area in the central Caspian, 80 kilometers to the south of the seaport at Aktau. The nearest onshore town is Kuryk village at a distance of 10 to 40 kilometers where KazMunaiGaz, Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company, is planning to build a new seaport. Because of these expectations, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will reconsider the issue of developing the N Bloc and has postponed the tender for it. Currently, additional research is being conducted to determine the existence of hydrocarbons before further moves to offer the bloc are made, Kiinov said, Kazinform refers to Kazakhstan News Bulletin released weekly by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.


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