The Tengiz oil field in Kazakhstan is one of the ten largest oilfields in the world. It is operated by Tengizchevroil (TCO). Oil is the focal point of all activities in Tengiz, but it is water, as one of the basic requirements, that makes oil production possible. Half of the total water usage in Tengiz is reserved for industrial use while the other half is utilised in residential activities. Approximately 10,000 m3 of water per day is needed for these purposes. However, the reliability of the water supply is declining and it is feared that this will adversely affect oil production.
Witteveen+Bos Kazakhstan performed a risk assessment in order to clearly understand the threats faced by oil production in the future due to water delivery. The assessment addressed all aspects, from local and international politics to applied techniques in water production, treatment and distribution. A team of engineers and specialists in the field of industrial processes, drinking water, statistics and management were mobilised to tackle the broad range of subjects, all of them possessing relevant Kazakhstan experience. The study shows that a continuation of present trends and methods of water management could cause oil production to suffer from reduced reliability of water delivery. The decision was therefore made to study practical ways of increasing the reliability of the water supply and reducing total water consumption.