Late last month, the Kazakh government ordered activity at the oil field suspended for three months, citing environmental concerns as well as repeated dissatisfaction with delays and increasingly higher costs to exploit the field.
Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov said today that his government has expressed its concerns during talks with Paolo Scaroni, the CEO of Eni, the Italian company that is leading the consortium operating the Kashagan oil project.
Following a September 11 meeting in Astana, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sauat Mynbaev announced that Kazakhstan welcomes "an open dialogue" to resolve the dispute.
But he also warned that problems over the development of the offshore oil field should "not to be politicized."
Eni has pushed back the start of production at the field from 2008 to late 2010. The total projected cost for operating the Kashagan field has also spiked, going from initial estimates of $57 billion to some $136 billion.
(with Interfax-Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS)
Work on a Kazakh pipeline (TASS file photo)
PRESSURE FROM THE KREMLIN? Columbia University political science professor Kimberly Marten told an RFE/RL briefing that Russia seems to be using its control of gas pipelines in the former Soviet Union to pursue its goals in Kazakhstan.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 60 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media
ARCHIVERFE/RL's coverage of Kazakhstan.