MILAN, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Oil production from Kazakhstan's Kashagan field is unlikely to be delayed to 2015 after output from the world's biggest crude discovery in half a century was halted due to a gas leak, the CEO of Italy's energy group Eni said on Friday.
Eni is part of the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), which is developing Kashagan and also includes Kazakh state oil firm KazMunaiGas, U.S. ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell , France's Total, and Japan's Inpex.
Asked if production might only be restarted in 2015 as suggested by some in the industry, Paolo Scaroni said: "No, I really don't think so. Within a few weeks we should understand (the problem), it shouldn't take that long."
Scaroni also said the company was ready to start with a planned share buyback but it would take time to complete it. He said a previous buyback, also for up to 10 percent of the group's capital, had taken nine years to complete.
"It's not like this one will take nine months, it requires a long time."