Caustic soda has contaminated oil from Karachaganak oil and gas condensate field in northwest Kazakhstan as the oil entered the CPC export pipeline during the development's Phase II sequential start-up, reported operator BG Group PLC on Sept. 23. The contamination has temporarily delayed sales of oil through the pipeline, now expected during the fourth quarter.

BG said the delay would have "no material impact on the project," and it still expects to be within 2% of its 2003 production target-160.6 million boe vs. 2002 production of 136 million boe. The 2003 volume targets, set in 1999, required the completion of 21 major projects, of which Karachaganak is the last.

Natural gas was first reinjected into the Karachaganak reservoir July 2, with first oil production entering the connecting pipeline to Atyrau on July 15 (OGJ Online, July 15, 2003). On completion of new facilities, the field will be capable of producing more than 200,000 b/d of oil and as much as 700 MMscfd. BG said it would initiate further development phases to increase liquids production after it develops a market for the additional gas volumes that would be produced. BG operates the field on behalf of partners ENI SPA, ChevronTexaco Corp. and OAO Lukoil.

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