Kazakhstan oil overview
Kazakhstan sits near the northeast portion of Caspian Sea and claims most of the Sea’s biggest known oil fields. Kazakhstan’s combined onshore and offshore proven hydrocarbon reserves have been estimated between 9 and 29 billion barrels (comparable to OPEC members Algeria on the low end and Qatar on the high end).
Kazakhstan oil facts
Kazakhstan recently completed a new assessment of its oil reserves and estimated proven and probable oil reserves at approximately 29 billion barrels. Kazakhstan earlier assessment in the 1990s estimated reserves at approximately 16 billion barrels. Kazakhstan is no longer a minor world oil exporter as it was during the late 1990s. Kazakhstan is poised to become an even more significant player in world oil markets over the next decade.
Kazakhstan produced approximately 1.22 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil in 2004 and consumed just 224,000 bbl/d, resulting in net exports of almost 1 million bbl/d. Kazakhstan government hopes to increase production levels to around 3.5 million bbl/d by 2015. This would include approximately 1 million bbl/d from Kashagan, 700,000 bbl/d from Tengiz, 600,000 bbl/d from Kurmangazy, and 500,000 bbl/d from Karachaganak.
Other smaller fields would account for the balance. Kazakhstan oil exports are growing rapidly, with current infrastructure delivering it to world markets via Black Sea (via Russia), Persian Gulf (via swaps with Iran), as well as some additional traffic northward to Russia via pipeline and rail.
Kazakhstan oil features
Between 1999 and 2004, Kazakhstan oil production grew by about 15 percent every year, resulting in nearly a doubling (roughly) of oil production. Most recently, the first six months of 2005 showed a slower, 10 percent production growth year-over-year. The slower rate of growth may be attributed to government restrictions on associated gas flaring or to new restrictions to production-sharing agreements (PSAs).
Increased Kazakhstan oil production in recent years has been the result of an influx of foreign investment into Kazakhstan oil sector. Kazakhstan expects the majority of the growth will come from four enormous fields: Tengiz, Karachaganak, Kurmangazy and Kashagan.
The majority of Kazakhstan oil is exported via pipeline through Russia and other neighboring countries. Connections to ports on Black Sea and Persian Gulf have allowed some Kazakhstan oil (or proxy oil from Iran) to be traded on the world market. Efforts are underway to expand Kazakhstan’s oil export infrastructure (especially to the east) over the next decade as Kazakhstan oil production increases.
Also, there is a proposal to build an export pipeline from Kazakhstan to Iran via Turkmenistan but the proposal has yet to gain support from Western investors. Kazakhstan has also taken a heightened interest in sending oil over Black Sea to the reversed Odessa-Brody pipeline.