MOSCOW, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The giant Kashagan oilfield in Kazakhstan produced first oil on Wednesday after years of delay, the consortium, which is developing the deposit, said.
"The first well was opened and the initial volumes of oil are being produced from the Kashagan field," the North Caspian Oil Company (NCOC) said in a statement.
The launch of production means that the consortium members will avoid fines for missing an Oct. 1 production deadline.
KazMunaiGas, Italy's ENI, U.S. major ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total each hold 16.81 percent stakes in Kashagan. Japan's Inpex owns 7.56 percent.
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) acquired a 8.33 percent stake earlier this year. The deal, estimated to be worth $5 billion, followed Kazakhstan's decision in July to use its pre-emptive rights to buy an 8.40 percent stake from U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips in the field for a similar price.