Updated communication package on pipeline integrity
Following the start of production from the Kashagan
field on 11 September 2013, the operations had to be
stopped on 24 September, due to a gas leak in the
onshore section of the gas pipeline running from D
Island to the onshore processing facility “Bolashak”.
The Department of Emergency Situations and the
relevant authorities were immediately informed in
accordance with the regulations. The access to the
line was secured and the respective joint replaced.
Production was resumed, but had to be stopped again
on October 9th after a detection of a gas leak.
Following repair of the affected joint, pressure
tests were performed in a fully controlled
environment revealing some other potential gas
leaks. A thorough investigation was launched at that
Management of investigation
The following bullet points intend to provide
summary update of the current situation in relation
to the management of investigation into the
• As stated in the previous communication, the
immediate cause for the leaks, being sulfide stress
cracking, has been established. Currently there is
an ongoing investigation to establish the cause for
the sulfide stress cracking in progress. In response
to some views expressed in mass media, Operator
states that under no circumstances gas hydrates
formation could cause sulfide stress cracking. The
hydrates formation occurs when natural gas
components combine with water to solidify at
temperatures higher than the freezing point of water
and may cause partial or complete plugging of gas
transportation lines. Operator also states that to
date Kashagan production facilities have not
experienced hydrate formation.
• Verification of each instance of suspicion of a
leak / defect by means of excavations and removal,
if necessary, of sections of pipeline is in
progress. Previous media reports of number of the
defects are pure speculations.
• The inspection by the so called Intelligent PIG
(Pipeline Inspection Gauge) has been completed for
both the sour gas line as well as the oil line. The
raw data from this inspection are currently being
reviewed and interpreted. As stated earlier, the
results of data interpretation are expected to be
available in early 2014. These results will be a
part of a report, which will be submitted to RoK
authorities as appropriate. More detailed
information about the PIG could be found at
• Laboratory analysis and simulations of the
operational environment with samples from the
pipeline have reached a conclusion that the
specifications for the pipeline material were
appropriate for the conditions of Kashagan field.
The specifications fully meet requirements of the
NACE standards (National Association of Corrosion
Engineers), respective ISO standards, and best
practices in international oil and gas field
development. As was previously communicated, the
sour gas line was designed to withstand the expected
H2S content and the presence of water.
• The timing of the restart of production will be
dependent on the results of the root cause analysis,
the conclusions from inline inspection of the
pipelines and the rehabilitation plans. The dates
that have recently been circulated in the media are
speculations and do not reflect plans and intentions
of the Consortium.
• Different quantities of replacement pipeline
joints may be required, depending upon the extent of
necessary oil or gas pipeline replacement. As a
precautionary measure, to avoid losing time, the
Consortium has initiated the tender process for the
potential purchase of pipeline joints in sufficient
quantities for various scenarios.
Current status & timelines
• The results of the tests on the steel samples at
TWI and other specialized laboratories in France and
Italy are expected in April 2014.
• The inspections of the oil and gas pipelines from
D Island to Bolashak plant with an intelligent PIG
have been completed, and the data are currently
being interpreted. The interpretation of the data
sets is a rather complex process which needs to be
carried out with high accuracy. Consequently it
takes quite some time to derive reliable results
that are sufficiently robust to develop a meaningful
rehabilitation plan. The results are expected in
April 2014. Comments that have recently been
circulated in the media about the delays to issue
final results are mere speculations.
• In the course of the PIG inspection on 11 January
2014, presence of diesel was detected at the onshore
part of the oil pipeline close to Bolashak plant.
The respective section of the pipeline was isolated
and excavated, confirming the presence of a seep in
the area of a weld.
North Caspian PSA Consortium remains committed to
ensuring operations to be safe and meeting
requirements of best international oil and gas field
practices, the NCS PSA, and all applicable
© North Caspian Operating Company