The Chevron-led Tengiz giant oilfield in Kazakhstan has reported a fresh spike in coronavirus cases, but the US supermajor is confident there will be no impact on the multi-billion-dollar expansion project currently under way.

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Local authorities have reported that more medical personnel have been dispatched to the field to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 infection, which earlier this year had been curbed through the implementation of strict measures and demobilisation of workers.

Last month, 140 new cases of infection were reported and, as of the end of last week, 71 new cases were reported since the beginning of December.

“The infection ward in Tengiz has 315 beds, of which 111 are occupied”, authorities at an official communication centre in the Atyrau region, where Tengiz is situated, said.

There are no plans to reduce production from Tengiz due to the coronavirus, Atyrau Governor Makhambet Dosmukhambetov said at a briefing in Astana.

The Chevron-led joint venture Tengizchevroil (TCO), which operates the field, is implementing “a special regiment” for the workforce, he said, with shift workers arriving at the field subject to testing and quarantine.

"Now workers are divided into different zones, which do not interact with each other, and are isolated from each other. Other measures are in place too, such as masks and social distancing” he said.

"Tengiz is a very large construction project. This is the construction of a third-generation plant and many related facilities. As of today, there are about 27,000 people at the field. In February, there were about 50,000,” he told reporters.

Since the first reported case of Covid-19 infection at the field in April, the number of personnel was reduced to 14,000, before the started to return in September.

Tengiz future development on track

Meanwhile, the $45 billion Future Growth Project-Wellhead Pressure Management Project (FGP-WPMP) is progressing well, TCO reported.

The final pre-assembled unit was safely delivered to Tengiz in late October, marking the end of the three-year Sealift campaign involving the marine transportation of 408 large modular items from international locations.

“Regardless of Covid-19, difficult market conditions and the international scale of the marine scope of work, we are pleased to have met the expectations of our four partners and the Republic of Kazakhstan,” said Eimear Bonner, TCO general director.

All modules are now on site to enable the FGP-WPMP team to continue with stacking and construction activities at Tengiz.

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Since the commencement of FGP-WPMP, TCO has spent over $10.3 billion to purchase Kazakhstani goods and services. Approximately 91% of the total project workforce are Kazakhstanis, the company said.

The modules for expansion of Tengiz, many of which weighed between 500 to 1800 tonnes each, were fabricated in Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Italy and transported through the Russian Inland Waterway System and into the Caspian Sea.

The total weight of marine cargo transported was almost 280,000 tonnes. The marine workscope involved the operation of more than 126 vessels, of which 40 were newly constructed vessels or significantly modified to support the project.

Commissioning of facilities under the production capacity expansion project is now expected to be completed in 2023, a year behind the original plan.

When completed, the expansion project will add 260,000 barrels per day of oil production from Tengiz, pushing total production capacity to 850,000 bpd.

Chevron is partnered in the TCO joint venture by fellow US supermajor ExxonMobil, state giant KazMunaiGaz and Russia's Lukoil.