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London — Crude production from Kazakhstan's highest-producing oil field, Tengiz, dropped 12% on the year in the second quarter to 570,000 b/d, figures from the Chevron-led operating consortium showed Sept. 9, reflecting the country's adherence to OPEC+ production cuts.

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Tengiz produced almost 100,000 b/d less in Q2 than it did in Q1, the update statement showed, as OPEC+ production cuts kicked in in May, with Kazakhstan tightening its adherence in June.

In production since 1993, Tengiz is the largest source of crude oil for Kazakhstan's CPC production stream, which is shipped to world markets from Novorossiisk on the Black Sea.

Kazakhstan has complied more closely with the current OPEC+ agreement aimed at stabilizing markets in the wake of the coronavirus price collapse than it did with previous agreements, according to organizations monitoring the agreement. The latest Platts survey published Sept. 9 showed Kazakhstan over-complied in August, with total crude output of 1.35 million b/d.

In emailed comments, Chevron said a coronavirus outbreak among Tengiz workers continued to have no impact on production, but the operator was adhering with output cut instructions relating to Kazakhstan's commitments under the OPEC+ agreement.

It added it still aimed to meet the timeline for a $45.2 billion expansion project that should lift output to around 850,000 b/d of crude and 1 million barrels of oil equivalent overall, despite the impact of coronavirus and measures implemented to limit the spread of the disease. Workers at the site on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea are now being remobilized, with quarantine and other measures in place, the Tengizchevroil consortium said.

"Tengizchevroil has been working closely with the Republic of Kazakhstan government authorities to develop a plan to safely and efficiently remobilize personnel... The plan was successfully approved and TCO and its contractor organizations commenced remobilizing personnel on Sept. 1. Remobilization will take place in a phased manner and in full compliance with all current Republic of Kazakhstan requirements and regulations," it said, adding "production operations continue uninterrupted."

On the OPEC+ production cuts, TCO said it, "as a law-abiding company, is following the... government decree imposing oil production limitations" and added: "We remain focused on safe and reliable operations and continuously strive to meet the expectations of our shareholders."

Expansion progressing

Work on the Wellhead Pressure Management Project is on track for startup in late 2022, to be followed by startup of the Future Growth Project in mid-2023, TCO said.

"Having implemented additional health precautions we continue to advance the project's key critical-path activities. The FGP-WPMP project is currently 79% complete. TCO and its partners continue working closely with the Republic of Kazakhstan to advance the project. The remaining project scope primarily involves construction and commissioning work in Tengiz and TCO is still targeting start-up of WPMP in late-2022, with FGP to follow in mid-2023," it said.

TCO said on its website a total of 4,147 Tengiz workers had tested positive for coronavirus, with 3,295 individuals fully recovered, and noted most positive cases had been identified at workers' point of origin rather than the work site. It said 24 people were receiving treatment in the Tengiz Infectious Disease hospital attached to the Atyrau regional hospital.

"Despite the encouraging trends and signs of epidemiological situation improvement in Tengiz, quarantine restrictions remain in full effect. Masks, physical distancing and self-isolation continue to be mandatory," it said, detailing steps taken to support the community and health services.

The TCO partners are Chevron, on 50%, ExxonMobil with 25%, state-owned KazMunaiGaz on 20% and Russia's Lukoil on 5%.