According to the data released by the Statistics Committee of the National Economic Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the country produced 32.975 million tons of crude oil over the first six months of 2016, which is 2.4 percent less than the respective figure from 2015.
Natural gas production declined by 6.3%, compared to the first half of 2015, and equaled roughly 356 billion cubic feet. Output of associated petroleum gas, a form of natural gas found at crude oil deposits, grew by 3.5% to almost 450 bcf.
Kazakhstan is aiming to stabilize its oil production as early as 2017. Last year, output shrunk by 2% to 66.5 million tons, but the forecast for 2016 is at 74 million tons. It is the Kashagan oil deposit that elevates Kazakhstan’s hopes for a bright future of the country’s crude production. The start of extraction operations, which have been postponed more than once due to the field’s high content of the highly corrosive hydrogen sulfide, is currently scheduled for October 2016.
The planned expansion at the Tengiz oil field is also expected to contribute to Kazakhstan’s crude oil production growth in the coming years.
Despite the setbacks seen in oil production, Kazakhstan’s output of gasoline and jet fuel increased dramatically by 13.6 percent since the start of the year and has amounted to 1.408 million tons. Diesel production grew by 10.6% to 2.370 million tons.
Growth in Kazakhstan’s refining sector is a good sign, as the country strives to become independent from oil product imports. Despite the country’s rich oil reserves, its refining industry has been lacking since Kazakhstan became an independent country in 1991. Kazakhstan is regularly introducing bans on oil product exports in order to meet its own domestic demand.
Reconstruction and modernization efforts are currently ongoing at all three of the country’s refineries. The facility in Atyrau is expected to complete its modernization by the end of 2016, while the plants in Pavlodar and Shymkent are scheduled to do so next year. Once all the works have been completed, Kazakhstan’s oil refining capacity is expected to increase to 17.5 million tons per annum.