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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Eni Chief to Meet Kazakh Prime Minister

Eni chief executive officer Paolo Scaroni is due to hold talks with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov on Tuesday on the development of the Kashagan oil field.

Scaroni and Masimov will meet in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said Monday. D'Alema said he plans to accompany Scaroni to the talks.

Masimov said last week that cost overruns and delays at the project were hurting Kazakhstan's national interests and that Kazakh state energy company KazMunaiGaz must become joint operator of the field alongside Rome-based Eni.

Negotiations about the field have been "open and constructive," said Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan Ermekbayev, who also attended the conference.

Kashagan holds 12 billion barrels of recoverable crude, enough to supply the United States for 19 months, the Kazakh Energy Ministry has said. The project has been delayed by five years, to 2010, and the government says the cost of developing and operating the project has more than doubled to $136 billion.

Environment Minister Nurlan Iskakov said on Aug. 27 that he would withdraw a Kashagan license because of "environmental violations" by the Eni-led group, a move he said would halt operations at the field for three months.

Kazakh Deputy Finance Minister Daulet Ergozhin said later that Kazakhstan would allow Eni and its partners to continue work at Kashagan during talks.