Kazak Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev opened a pipeline stretching from the country’s giant Tengiz oil field to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk on March 26th, marking the Central Asian producer’s first direct link to international crude markets.
Until the opening of the first stage of the 982-mile line, Kazakstan was forced to export most of its crude through the Russian pipeline network.
The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) line was opened with an initial capacity of 560,000 b/d, which will eventually rise to 1.5 million b/d.
Tokayev said at the pipeline’s opening ceremony that: “This is an unforgettable day in the year of the 10th anniversary of Kazakstan’s independence.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev holds out great hopes for the CPC line, believing it will help open up the oil wealth of Kazakstan.”
Tokayev was speaking near the Caspian port of Atyrau, the start of the new pipeline. A CPC spokesman indicated that storage facilities at Novorossiisk are near completion, with the port expected to start loadings of Caspian crude in June or July.
While Kazak production is expected to top 800,000 b/d this year, output is growing at a rapid rate.
The Tengiz field contains an estimated six to nine billion barrels of recoverable reserves, while the massive Kashagan field could boast at least 10 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, making it the world’s largest discovery in three decades.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)