British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the region in June to discuss the field's development with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He said he was brushing aside human rights concerns in favor of the interests of British companies eyeing reserves in the Caspian Sea. More than a dozen people were killed during energy sector strikes in the Kazakh oil town of Zhanoazen in 2011. Cameron, however, said the "global race for jobs and investment" was his primary concern. Most of the trade relationship between Kazakhstan and the EU focuses on oil and gas. NCOC, for its part, said its export options for Kashagan target European and Chinese markets.
Eurostat, the statistical agency for the EU, said second quarter gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent for the 27-member EU. OPEC, in its monthly market report for September, said the European economy was returning to growth after 18 months of recession. European economic recovery, the cartel said, was "stronger than expected" and oil demand gains from members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was "particularly notable" in the Americas and Europe. The energy appetite from an emerging Europe should only continue to grow.
In terms of natural gas, EU members saw their options expand exponentially when a BP-led consortium operating in the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea made a decision on its export route for Europe. Discovered more than a decade ago, Shah Deniz should peak at 565 billion cubic feet of natural gas, making it one of the largest natural gas fields in the world. Production is expected to enter into full swing in 2017 and European markets should start getting gas through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline by 2019. (Related article: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fracking)