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Accident at Giant Kazakh Oil Field Halts Production

ASTANA — An accident has halted production at Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan offshore oil field two weeks after its launch, but this will not delay the start of commercial output in October, the Kazakh oil and gas minister said.

It took nearly 13 years and about $50 billion before the first oil was produced Sept. 11 at the field in the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan expects it to produce about 8 million tons of crude in 2014 and eventually reach 1.5 million barrels per day.

The multinational consortium developing Kashagan needs to launch commercial output by an October deadline or faces fines under a production-sharing agreement with Kazakhstan.

"Production was stopped yesterday" due to a gas leak, Minister Uzakbai Karabalin said Thursday. "We believe it will take three or four days to fix it."

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