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South Korean Firm Joins Aral Sea Gas Project

(RFE/RL) August 30, 2006 -- Reports from Tashkent and Seoul say South Korea's national oil company, KNOC, has won a 20 percent stake in a consortium to explore and develop a natural gas field in Uzbekistan's southern sector of the Aral Sea.

A production-sharing agreement to that effect was signed in Tashkent today.

Other consortium members include Uzbekistan's state-run Uzbekneftegaz, Malaysia's Petronas, Russia's LUKoil Overseas Holding Ltd., and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

AP quotes a statement by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy in Seoul as saying this is the first time that South Korea will have taken part in the development of a hydrocarbon field in Uzbekistan.

The statement says production at the Aral Sea site could start as early as 2012. It adds that the deal could provide South Korea with enough natural gas to meet its demand for a year and a half.

(, Interfax, AP)

Central Asia Gas Pipelines

Central Asia Gas Pipelines

Click on the map for an enlarged image.

Russia's rising appetite for Central Asian gas is a direct result of the shifting fortunes of Gazprom, the state-run Russian company that controls lucrative exports. The company's total gas production has flatlined at around 550 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year. With major fields yielding less as they age, Gazprom has chosen to maintain its all-important gas balance by purchasing gas on the side -- from independent producers in Russia and from Russia's Central Asian neighbors -- instead of investing in the lengthy and costly development of untapped Arctic fields...(more)

See also:

Who's Afraid Of Gazprom? Controlling Gas Pipelines