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30-year journey transforms barren fields to oil-producing supergiant

2 min read | may 15, 2023

Nissanbay Moldiyev, a Tengizchevroil high pressure to low pressure event manager, keeps watch over a facility in Kazakhstan.

In 1982, a young Nissanbay Moldiyev reported for work at Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil and gas field for the first time.

He’s still working there today, though the scene is remarkably different; it has transformed throughout the decades from barren land to the nation’s largest oil-producing field.

“What was in the past and what we have now are two incomparable things,” said Moldiyev, a high pressure to low pressure event manager. “Back in the 80s, there was nothing but drilling rigs in the field. There were no oil wells, no roads—not even pylons or overhead power lines.”

With Chevron’s help, the region’s energy potential has been unlocked to create thriving economies, businesses, jobs and communities.

Workers in hard hats
Worker at wheel

the backstory

In 1993, Chevron and the Republic of Kazakhstan formed the Tengizchevroil (TCO) joint venture. It encompasses two fields:

  • Tengiz, the world’s deepest producing supergiant oil field, with a surface area more than four times that of Paris, France.
  • Korolev, a smaller nearby field also considered a world-class reservoir.

Today, the fields’ impressive yearly output could satisfy the annual oil demand of entire nations.

Woman in lab
Man with communication device
Woman in Tengizchevroil lab

shaping progress

When we entered Kazakhstan 30 years ago, it was a newly independent country. We were new to the region, and foreign investments were limited.

Extraction of the nation’s promising reserves was hampered by the challenges of high reservoir pressure and the presence of hydrogen sulfide, which is corrosive and toxic.

We overcame those obstacles, and many others, through new technologies, such as our pipeline integrity monitoring program, to improve performance and expand capacity.

We have, in parallel, helped shape the country’s economic, human and environmental progress through initiatives that support education, promote healthy lifestyles and bring design and business skills training to thousands of artisans. TCO has also invested more than $3.1 billion in environmental protection activities.

“The past three decades have been a remarkable story of growth, progress and achievement, not just for the industry, but for the people of Kazakhstan,”

kevin lyon

TCO’s general director

“For more than 30 years, TCO has been creating value for Kazakhstan by operating responsibly and relentlessly focusing on safe and reliable operations,” said Kevin Lyon, TCO’s general director.

Partners in the TCO venture now include Chevron, ExxonMobil, KazMunayGas and LukArco.

a look ahead

We produce 700,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in TCO, and hope to reach 1 million bpd by 2025.

The Future Growth Project, which is designed to further increase total daily production from the Tengiz reservoir and maximize the ultimate recovery of resources, could help us reach that target.

“This state-of-the-art project will create a legacy of a trained skilled workforce, new facilities, technology transfer through partnerships between Kazakhstani and international companies, and upgraded infrastructure in the region,” Lyon said.

“We look forward to continuing to play a role in advancing Kazakhstan’s economic progress, in supporting the development of this noble industry and in creating opportunities for future generations of Kazakhstanis.”

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