Kazakhstan is already planning a second online auction for oil and gas assets following the success of the first tender last month.

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The country’s Energy Ministry is looking for buyers for five idle oilfields and 10 blocks, with nine tracts located in the Aktyubinsk region and three blocks in the Atyrau region.

The ministry expects the Karatyube field in the Aktyubinsk region will receive the strongest interest from potential bidders, with an initial price tag for the licence set at more than 492 million tenge ($1.2 million).

The field was discovered in 1966, but has been idle for over 12 years after the deposit was mostly depleted by previous operators.

Besides the deposit itself, the block also includes neighbouring zones, with the whole licence area covering about 3800 square kilometres.

However, the winner of the field’s licence will have to engage in a major clean-up effort as over 30 idled wells were reported as slowly leaking oil at various locations.

According to reports in Aktyubinsk, local authorities are short on funds to liquidate abandoned wells.

The second-largest deposit on offer is Zhanatan, also in the Aktyubinsk region.

Zhanatan covers about 391 square kilometres and has an initial price of about 83 million tenge.

Three other oilfields that have been offered — Biikzhal, South Kaskyrbulak and Pribrezhnoye — are significantly smaller and are located in the Atyrau region.

Several blocks require additional exploration efforts to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons, the largest being Aralsky 4, which covers more than 3300 square kilometres in the dried seabed of the Aral Sea in the Aktyubinsk and Kyzylordinskaya regions.

Another large block, Aschibulak, also lies in the Aktyubinsk region. However, a small part of the block has been excluded as it hosts the Zhaksymay oilfield, which is being explored by KazInRuss Trading.

Finally, a third block, covering 1600 square kilometres, lies next to the Kumkol oilfield in the Karaganda and Kyzylordinskaya regions.

The field is reasonably depleted, with Russian oil producer Lukoil reportedly looking for a buyer for its 50% stake in field operator Turgai Petroleum.

Participants can submit applications by 25 March, with online bidding to start on 23 April.