Wednesday, March 04, 2009
UZBEKISTAN: GAZPROM COMES UP DRY ON EXPLORATION ATTEMPTS
3/03/09 - Eurasianet.org - Gazprom has handed-back exploration licenses for three hydrocarbon deposits in northern Uzbekistan. A Gazprom source told the Russian newspaper Kommersant that the deposits had been disappointing and were not of commercial interest. Michael Korchemkin of the US-based energy consulting firm East European Gas Analysis said the hand-back is "an indication that Gazprom is starting [the implementation of] a reasonable reduction in its investment program," the newspaper reported March 3. The licenses for the Kuanysh, West-Urgin and Akchalak fields in Ustyurt were held by Gazprom subsidiary Zarubezhneftegas, and they may now be taken over Malaysia’s Petronas, the report added. Gazprom’s investment in the Ustyurt area has been projected to hit $400 million. The company spent $215 million on exploring seven deposits in 2007-2008; a further $45 million has been earmarked for 2009. Exploration work will continue at Shakhpakhty, Aktumsuk, Agyn and Nasambek fields.