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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Demand Improved Terms Over Kashagan Field

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan told multinationals led by Italy's Eni that they would pay the price for being too slow and spending too much to tap its vast Kashagan oilfield, saying it would secure a better deal.

"I want to warn the companies via the media that we consider changes in start-up terms as changes of the contract itself. Therefore we will respond adequately," Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov said Monday.

Kazakhstan's energy minister, Baktykozha Izmukhambetov, told the same meeting that the government was in talks with the Kashagan group, led by Eni, to revise the share of "profit oil for Kazakhstan" to 40 percent from 10 percent.

He did not elaborate about changes to the terms but said the government was not happy that Kashagan's start-up had been delayed to the second half of 2010 from late 2008, a further slip from the original 2005 target.

"According to the proposals that have been presented, costs will increase from $57 billion to $136 billion," he said without elaborating on the huge figure, which is several times bigger than Eni's latest estimates.

Eni declined to immediately comment.

Kashagan became the world's biggest oil find in 30 years when it was discovered last decade but its development has been delayed by technical challenges, which also prompted Eni to almost double Kashagan's first-phase costs to $19 billion.