Kazakhstan's $45bln Tengiz expansion halted due to coronavirus

The move aims to protect employees from the novel coronavirus

  

ALMATY- Kazakhstan's biggest oil producer Tengizchevroil (TCO) is suspending work on its $45 billion expansion project in the west of the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the company said on Tuesday.

Kazakhstan has confirmed more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus infections, including a dozen people at a workers' camp close to the Tengiz field.

Chevron holds a 50% stake in TCO, with the rest divided between ExxonMobil, Russia's LUKOIL and Kazakh state energy firm KazMunayGaz

"As a result of the confirmed COVID-19 cases among our contractor and subcontractor workforce, over the next several weeks... TCO will reduce activities and personnel to ensure their safety and to minimise the impact of the pandemic on our operations and construction activities," the company said in a statement.

The company said that "only certain activities that are on the (expansion) project’s critical path will continue".

"TCO notes that these measures have been implemented in order to protect the health and safety of the Tengiz workforce and are not related to current market conditions," it also said.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman) ((olzhas.auyezov@thomsonreuters.com; +7 727 2508 500; Reuters Messaging: olzhas.auyezov.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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