(Adds details, context)
ALMATY, Sept 29 The consortium of oil majors
developing the giant Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan has begun
test pumping, it said on Thursday, as the $50 billion project
prepares for commercial production.
The field off Kazakhstan's Caspian coast first started
production in 2013, but output was suspended shortly after
launch because of technical problems with the gas pipelines.
"NCOC confirms that, as part of the complex process of
commissioning and testing now under way, hydrocarbons are being
introduced to certain parts of the facilities, including the
newly replaced pipelines to shore," the North Caspian Operating
Company said in a statement.
The NCOC consortium comprises China National Petroleum Corp
, Exxon Mobil, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell
, Total, Inpex and KazMunaiGas
"Further information may be available once we reach initial
stable production levels," its statement added.
The Kazakh Energy Ministry had mistakenly announced earlier
in the day that production had started. It withdrew the
statement and said that initial output would begin in late
September or early October.
Kashagan is initially expected to produce 75,000 barrels per
day (bpd) in October, rising to between 150,000 and 180,000 bpd
in the November-December period of this year.
(Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov;
Editing by Dmitry Solovyov and David Goodman)