ASTANA – On October 23, the giant Kashagan oil project in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea will officially start oil production.

Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said on October 12 that test pumping in Kashagan was going well at 90,000 barrels per day.

“Everything goes as planned in Kashagan. It’s okay. Pumping started. I saw this morning that 90,000 barrels per day came from four active wells,” Bozumbayev told reporters on the sidelines of the plenary session of the Majilis (lower chamber of parliament).

He said the refinery Bolashak, which receives oil from the Kashagan field, also works. “All kinds of equipment are gradually loaded. Commercial oil has already entered yesterday into the tanks of KazTransOil,” the minister added. “Now, oil will accumulate gradually and after some time, the operator (North Caspian Operating Company), and the shareholders (of NCOC) will announce its first export contract,” Bozumbayev said.

NCOC comprises of China National Petroleum Corp, Exxon Mobil, ENI , Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Inpex and KazMunaiGas.