A Kazakh official said Wednesday he hoped oil production would resume at the Kashagan field early next year after being shut down by a pipeline accident. "We couldn't put in operation the Kashagan oil production because of some problems. But we hope ... in the first months of next year operations will begin," Baktykozha Izmukhambetov, head of Atyrau region, told a regional session of Kazakhstan's assembly. Oil production at the offshore field in the northern part of the Caspian Sea close to Atyrau began on Sept. 11, but was shut down two weeks later due to detected gas leaks in one of the main pipelines. Production restarted on Oct. 6 after repairs, but was suspended again for a thorough inspection. The field's reserves are estimated at 35 billion barrels of oil, with 11 billion barrels considered recoverable.