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Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil field operator says resuming normal output after protests


Gradual increase to normal levels after protests at remote site

Tengiz is largest contributor of CPC export blend

CPC, a light, relatively low-sulfur crude, is Kazakhstan's main export blend

Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil field, the country's highest-producing crude source, is gradually returning to normal production levels after protests at the site disrupted operations, the Chevron-led operating consortium, Tengizchevroil, said Jan. 9.

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Tengizchevroil (TCO) said Jan. 6 it was making an "adjustment" to production levels at Tengiz -- the largest contributor to CPC crude blend -- after contract workers mounted a protest in support of demonstrations elsewhere in the west of the country linked to fuel price increases.

In a Jan. 9 update, a TCO spokesperson told S&P Global Platts the consortium "continues to focus on ensuring the health and safety of its workforce," and "all production facilities continue operating safely."

"TCO is safely and gradually increasing production to reach normal rates," the spokesperson said.

CPC, a light, relatively low-sulfur crude, is Kazakhstan's main export blend, loaded at Novorossiisk on Russia's Black Sea coast. Loadings were in the region of 1.4 million b/d in November, with Tengiz having a nameplate production capacity of 600,000 b/d.

The site on the Caspian Sea coast has in recent months hosted tens of thousands of workers as the consortium implements a $45 billion expansion project, intended to lift crude capacity to 850,000 b/d.

After Russia, the Central Asian nation is the second largest crude producer among the non-OPEC nations in the OPEC+ group, which has been coordinating production levels in the wake of the pandemic.

The other main fields that contribute to CPC blend are not thought to have had any production issues in relation to the unrest that has rocked the country in recent days, and led President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to call on a regional security grouping led by Russia for security assistance. Press reports suggest the security situation in Almaty, the city in the east of the country at the center of the unrest, has been improving.

Shell said earlier the assets it has stakes in, including the Kashagan and Karachaganak fields and the CPC pipeline, were fully functioning, while a spokesperson for the Karachaganak operating consortium, KPO, also confirmed operations were unaffected.

TCO comprises Chevron (50%), ExxonMobil (25%), state-owned KazMunaiGas (10%), and Lukoil (5%).