NCOC awaits results from Kashagan pipeline pigging program offshore Kazakhstan
North Caspian Operating Co. (NCOC) has issued an update on its program for the shallow-water Kashagan field offshore Kazakhstan.
Production has remained shut in since Oct. 9, 2013, following detection of variouspotential gas leaks in the field’s pipeline system.
Sulfide stress cracking was responsible, but this was not due to gas hydrates formation, NCOC says.
The operator is checking each instance of suspicion of a leak/defect, and will if necessary implement excavations and removal of affected sections of pipeline.
NCOC has completed pigging of the Kashagan sour gas and oil lines and will submit its review of the results to the Kashagan authorities. Results of tests on the steel samples at TWI in the UK and other laboratories in France and Italy are expected soon.
Laboratory analysis and simulations of the operational environment with samples from the pipeline indicate that the specifications for the pipeline material were appropriate for the field. The specs were fully compliant with NACE and ISO standards and best practices in international oil and gas field development, NCOC adds. The sour gas line was designed to withstand the anticipated expected hydrogen sulfide (H2S) content and the presence of water.
Resumption of production will depend on the results of the root cause analysis, conclusions from inline inspection of the pipelines, and proposed rehabilitation work.
Varying quantities of replacement pipeline joints may be needed. As a precaution, the North Caspian PSA consortium has started a tender process for the potential purchase of pipeline joints to meet the various scenarios.