Kashagan production date pushed back to 2017

Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan oil field in the Caspian Seawill not restart production until 2017, according to Royal Dutch Shell’s annual accounts for 2014 – a year later than predicted by the   country’s Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik as recently as January. The Kashagan project has been plagued with problems since operations had to be halted in  2013 less than a month after they began due to leaks from the sour gas pipeline, attributed to a high concentration of corrosive hydrogen sulphide in the gas. In February, Italy’s Saipem was awarded a $1.8 billion contract build two new  replacement 95-km pipelines  – this time clad with corrosion resistant internal cladding – to connect the artificial hub island  to an onshore plant on the Kazakh mainland. Kashagan is being developed by a consortium that includes Eni (which owns 43% of Saipem), Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil and that has already spent more than $50bn a project that was originally due to  come on line in 2005.