Orbital View: Oil Platform Purgatory

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What you’re seeing:

Kashagan Field is an offshore oil field in Kazakhstan’s zone of the Caspian Sea. The field, discovered in 2000, is located in the northern part of the Caspian Sea close to Atyrau and is considered the world’s largest discovery in the last 30 years, combined with the Tengiz Field. CNN Money estimates that development of the field had cost US$116 billion as of 2012, which made it the most expensive energy project in the world. Harsh conditions, including sea ice during the winter, temperature variation from −35 to 40 °C (−31 to 104 °F), extremely shallow water and high levels of hydrogen sulfide, together with mismanagement and disputes, make it one of the most challenging oil megaprojects.

The latest on the stalled megaproject:

International rating agency Standard & Poors (S&P) has excluded the giant oilfield Kashagan located in the Caspian offshore out of the factors influencing Kazakhstan’s economic prospects due to repeatedly delayed commercial production at the oilfield, according to Karen Vartapetov, S&P’s Associate Director. Commercial production at Kashagan started September 11, 2013. However, it was suspended 2 weeks later due to a gas leakage. The production process was resumed shortly. However, another leakage was detected in October.