International consortium signs up to super-deep Caspian drilling project

Drilling in Caspian SeaAn international consortium involving Chinese, Italian, Californian, Azeri and Kazakh companies has agreed to drill for the super-deep hydrocarbon deposits that are believed to lie under Kazakhstan’s section of the Caspian basin. Earlier this week, with the signing of what Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev described as a “historic document”, Agip (Italy), CNPC International (China), NEOS GeoSolutions (US) and Azerbaijjan’s SOCAR state-owned enterprise agreed to work with Kazakhstan’s RN-Exploration and KazMunayGas-Eurasia to attempt to drill down to between 13 and 15 km into the subsurface of the Caspian depression. 
Initial estimates suggest that the basin could contain as much as 60bn tonnes of oil. With some of the depression located in Russian territory the two countries have agreed to exchange geological and geophysical information.
Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat BozumbayevPlans for what is know as the Eurasia project have been several years in the making and the work will initially focus on analysis of existing data and the collection of new information followed by geophysical studies. The third stage will see the drilling of an exploration well to a depth of about 15 km.
“Such super-deep drilling has not yet been carried out anywhere in the world,” Bozumbayev said, “and so far the deepest drilling in Kazakhstan only goes down to 5 km. Now we have modern, more powerful equipment, so I think we will achieve good results.”
The deepest shaft drilled to date is the Kola Bore Hole at Murmansk, where Russian miners got down as far as 12.262 metres in 1983.