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UpstreamOnline: Kazakhstan to delay Nursultan decision

By Upstream staff

Kazakhstan may raise its oil reserves estimate for the Nursultan field in the Caspian sea in a move that will delay a final decision on which company will win rights for the block, the country’s oil minister said today.

Shell has been in competition with ConocoPhillips to win exploration rights for the block, close to Kuryk, where oil-rich Kazakhstan plans to build a port.

“We are not going to announce a tender right now,” Baktykozha Izmukhambetov told Reuters. “We first want to finally make sure what the field actually contains so as not to make a mistake.”

Izmukhambetov declined to give a date when the government could start talks with one of the contenders vying for the field.

He said that in line with new estimates by state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas, Nursultan’s reserves were “substantially higher” than the figure published by the government earlier.

An earlier official estimate put the block’s hydrocarbon reserves at 2.652 billion barrels of oil.

Despite continued delays, both Shell and ConocoPhillips still display avid interest in the Nursultan block.

“Judging by their frequent addresses and letters, I feel their interest is strong, because this is a very attractive structure,” Izmukhambetov said.

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