Caspian Sea 2011

State of the Environment of the Caspian Sea

the combined production from these three fields is likely to result in Kazakhstan becoming a mem- ber of the small group of countries capable of pro- ducing more than 2m b/d (WEO 2008). The Kashagah field was discovered in July 2000, approximately 80 km south of Atyrau. It is the largest Caspian offshore field and one of the larg- est fields discovered anywhere in the world in the last 30 years. It has taken several years to develop, and start-up operations have been delayed sev- eral times; latest indications forecast that the first production will be on stream in 2014 (WEO 2008). The geological formation in the Kashagah field is characterized by very high pressure (800 bars), high temperatures (125°C), hydrogen sulphide content (15–20%) and the presence of naturally occurring toxic substances (mercaptanes) (ENVS-

EC 2008). These factors create major logistical dif- ficulties. Ecological conditions are also difficult, with exploration taking place in extremely cold, very shallow and environmentally sensitive wa- ters. Production facilities will be based on several artificial islands, surrounded by ice-protection barriers (Agip KCO). The high volumes of hydro- gen sulphide in the reserve characterize some of the challenges involved in bringing production on stream. Making the production facilities safe for workers has been an expensive business. Plans to re-inject gas into Kashagan’s reservoirs have caused considerable concern among environmen- tal NGOs (CEP 2007a). Turkmenistan implements projects aiming at the increase of the production and export of en- ergy. Turkmenistan is the biggest producer of gas

Gas production, consumption and export

30 Azerbaijan Million tonnes of oil equivalent per year



Consumption Production

Net export



Net export


Net import


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2010.


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