The Government of Kazakhstan is pushing ahead with $16.5bn claims from oil companies over operations at its two major oil projects, reported Reuters, citing Kazakhstan Energy Minister Almasadam Satkaliyev.

In April this year, Kazakhstan initiated arbitration proceedings against the group developing the Kashagan and Karachaganak oilfields.

The Kazakh government contends that operators should not deduct costs totalling $13bn for Kashagan and $3.5bn for Karachaganak as part of profit-sharing agreements.

“There are working procedures. Arbitrators are being appointed, consultations are underway,” Satkaliyev was quoted by the news agency as saying.

He also gave a negative response when asked if an out-of-court settlement may be possible.

If the government is successful, it might get a bigger cut of the revenue coming from these oilfields.

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By GlobalData

The offshore Kashagan field is being developed by CNPC, Eni, ExxonMobil, Inpex, KazMunayGas, Shell, and TotalEnergies.

It is claimed to be one of the greatest oil discoveries in recent decades and the consortium has invested $50bn to develop the project.

Along with Chevron and Lukoil, Eni, Shell, and KazMunayGaz are also participants in Karachaganak with investments totalling more than $27bn.

Requests for comment were not immediately answered by the two consortiums’ Kazakhstan offices, the news agency said.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that oil companies are trying to settle the multibillion-dollar disputes with Kazakhstan.

As per the report, one of the potential solutions being discussed is the construction of a gas processing plant to supply to Kazakhstan’s domestic market.