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First Oil Extracted From Kazakhstan's Kashagan Field

An aerial view shows artificial islands on the Kashagan offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea.
The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) has reported the first oil has been extracted from Kazakhstan's massive offshore Kashagan field.

The NCOC said in a statement the "first oil volumes" were produced on September 11.

The Kashagan field in the Caspian Sea has an estimated 4.8 billion tons of oil reserves as well as natural gas.

Production at the site is years behind schedule but Kazakh officials have pushed all year to get production under way before the end of 2013.

Partners in the NCOC are KazMunaiGaz, Italy's Eni, France's Total, the Anglo-Dutch company Royal Dutch Shell, the U.S. company ExxonMobil, and Japan's Inpex.

Kazakhstan recently used its preemptive right to purchase an 8.45 percent share from ConocoPhillips and reports indicate Kazakh authorities will sell that stake to the China National Petroleum Corporation.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and