$7Bln Demanded for Kashagan Delay

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan sought $7 billion in compensation from a group of Western companies Friday for delays at the Kashagan oil field, a source close to the talks said, naming a fine much smaller than its earlier demands.

Kazakhstan is locked in a dispute with the Eni-led consortium over cost overruns and production delays at the huge Caspian Sea field.

"[We demand] more than $7 billion. That's for the delays," said the source, who declined to be identified.

Kazakhstan had set Friday as a deadline for the group to come up with a settlement proposal.

Eni declined to comment on the $7 billion demand.

At the height of the dispute, in September, Deputy Finance Minister Daulet Yergozhin said Kazakhstan sought more than $10 billion from the consortium.