Promising find off Kazakstan

July 24, 2000, 12:00 CEST

An oil strike with its first wildcat in the north-east Caspian has been confirmed by the Offshore Kazakstan International Operating Company (Okioc).

The well was drilled by the consortium, in which Statoil has a 4.8 per cent interest, on the Kashagan East structure in three metres of water.

"Preliminary results are very positive, and we're looking forward to the final answers from the tests," says Per Einar Rettedal.

But the head of the Kazakstan organisation in International Exploration & Production emphasises that it is too early to say anything about the size of the discovery.

Oil and gas were found in an interval about 4,000 metres beneath the seabed. Results are expected to be ready during the autumn.

Okioc general manager Keith Dallard says the consortium has been encouraged by data obtained so far, and hopes that continued exploration and appraisal drilling will further support the initial results.

Once the outcome is clear, the licensees will decide whether a second well should be drilled – as specified in their production-sharing agreement with the Kazakstan authorities.

Results from the wildcat will also be important in determining whether Statoil continues its commitment to the Central Asian republic.

Kashagan East 1 was drilled to a total depth of roughly 5,200 metres by the Sunkar rig, which belongs to Parker Drilling, and represents Kazakstan's first offshore discovery.

Drilling on Kashagan West, which lies about 40 kilometres from the first location, is scheduled to begin in the autumn.

Okioc's other partners are ENI, British Gas, BP Amoco, ExxonMobil, Inpex, Phillips Petroleum, Shell and TotalFinaElf.