“We have a business in Kazakhstan that we can build on”, says Maersk Oil chief executive Jakob Thomasen.

Talks with authorities about “an onshore block in the Mangistau region are in an advanced stage”, with the company hoping to start oil production there by 2020 if a licence is granted soon, Thomasen adds. Maersk is looking at two more blocks in Kazakhstan, but company officials refuse to provide any timeframe on when they will hold talks to finalise the assets.