India receives offer to undertake development of Kazakh Abay oil block

India has received an offer from the Kazakhstan Government to explore Abai oil block in the Caspian Sea.

The offer was made at the Kazakh-India Inter-Governmental Commission’s (IGC) 11th meeting, which took place in the Kazakh capital Astana on 24-25 April, where both countries discussed economic, scientific, technological, industrial and cultural cooperation, ANI News reported.

Abai offshore block, which is located in the northern part of the Caspian Sea, 65km from the shore at a depth of 8m-10m, has estimated reserves of 387 million tonnes (2.8 billion barrels) of oil equivalent.

The block was initially developed in collaboration with Norwegian Statoil and Kazakhstan’s KazMunaiGas, but Statoil discontinued it in early 2013.

Kazakhstan’s vice-minister of oil and gas Magzum Mirzagaliev led the Kazakh delegation, while the Indian side was led by Petroleum Secretary Saurabh Chandra.

Chandra said: “Hydrocarbons is one of the key areas of our cooperation. Kazakhstan has oil and gas, while India has the market. Our companies have ample experience in production and exploration in this sector. ONGC Videsh company owns a 25% share in Satpayev oil block.

“Exploration of the block will be made. We plan to finish it by March of 2015. Kazakhstan has offered us Abai oil block and our company will study all the available information concerning the block and notify the Government of Kazakhstan of its decision.”

Both countries have shown positive response and agreed to cooperate in the production and development of oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan.

The Indian side expressed its willingness to participate in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Kazakhstan, both as a sole developer and also as a consortium partner.

It also offered its cooperation in the field of renewable energy, as well as atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

Chandra also noted that Indian oil and gas explorer ONGC Videsh is currently working on Satpayev offshore field in the northern Caspian Sea, where the potential reserves are estimated at 1.8 billion barrels and first oil is expected in 2020.