It is named after a 19th century Kazakh poet from Aktau.
The field reservoir is integrated hydrocarbons accumulation with 4.65 billion tons ( 36.6 billion barrels ) of oil in place.
According to some industry resources, Kashagan’s reserves could well exceed 50 billion barrels.
This would make it into the 2nd largest oil field in the world, after the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia.
The field covers 1,034 square miles and is located at a depth of 4 - 6 meters.
Its a carbonate platform of the Late Devonian to middle Carboniferous age.
The reef is about 75 km long and 35 km across, with a narrow neck joining 2 broader platforms.
The top of the reservoir is 4.5 km below sea level and the oil column extends for more than 1 km.
The reservoir consists of limestone with low porosities and permeability.
The oil is light, with 45° API gravity with a high gas-oil ratio and very high H2S content of 19%.
The field is heavily overpressured, which presented a significant drilling challenge.
The combination of ice, shallow water and sea level fluctuations represents a significant logistical challenge.
Other technological challenges are:
- Deep reservoir - 5, 000 m
- High reservoir pressure - 800 bar
- High H2S (Hydrogen Sulphide) content (16-20%)
- Manag ement of by-products, such as sulphur
- Use of sour gas re-injection into the reservor
- July 2000, when the first oil influx was received
- June 2002 when Kashagan Commercial Discovery (KCD) was declared
- December 2004 when the first Kashagan Development plan and budget was presented
- In 2016 the first offshore oil in the history of Kazakhstan was commercially produced from Kashagan
Aside from being behind schedule, the project is also significantly over-budget.
The 7-company consortium that operates Kashagan has been increasing output since the field came on stream in 2016 after numerous delays and technical problems that helped make it one of the costliest oil projects in the world, at some $55 billion.
Kashagan has been operated through a joint venture, the North Caspian Operating Company.
The participants JV since 1997:
- Exxon Mobil,
- Inpex .
While the EBRD has not directly financed the extraction of oil from Kashagan, since 2003 it has been financing projects that support oil extraction and export in western Kazakhstan, and specifically at Kashagan.