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Bloomberg: ConocoPhillips May Join Shell to Explore Kazakh Oil Field


By Nariman Gizitdinov and Eduard Gismatullin

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) — ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, is in talks with the Kazakh government about joining an offshore exploration project in the Caspian Sea that is already being sought by Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

The two companies are seeking stakes in the Nursultan oil fields, which may hold 637 million tons (4.7 billion barrels) of oil and gas reserves, according to KazMunaiGaz, Kazakhstan’s state oil company. Shell may gain 35 percent of the field, Kazakh Energy Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said in June.

“One of them may become our strategic partner,” Zhaksybek Kulekeyev, First Vice President at KazMunaiGaz, told reporters today at an oil conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. “They both may join it. The Kazakh share will be no less than 50 percent.”

KazMunaiGaz expects investors to spend about $33.1 billion between 2003 and 2015 to tap fields in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, Zhakyp Marabaev, a director of KazMunaiGaz’s exploration unit, said at the same conference. Kazakhstan plans to offer investors as many as eight oil and gas fields in the northern Caspian Sea to more than double the nation’s oil output by 2015.

KazMunaiGaz will retain stakes of at least 50 percent in the fields.

Shell and ConocoPhillips are competing with China National Petroleum Corp., India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp., Korea National Oil Corp., and Statoil ASA, Norway’s largest oil company, for the rights to develop offshore fields with estimated 3.2 billion tons of oil and gas, Marabaev said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin and Nariman Gizitdinov in Almaty, through the Moscow newsroom at [email protected]

Last Updated: October 4, 2006 06:50 EDT

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