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MarketWatch: Kazakh energy minister sees Kazmunaigas, Shell deal soon

Last Update: 8:04 AM ET Nov 22, 2006

MOSCOW (MarketWatch) — Kazakh Energy Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov said Wednesday the state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) were to conclude talks on the Caspian oil and gas field ‘Project N’ by the end of this year, the Kazakh state news agency reported.

“I met with the U.K.’s energy minister and senior management of Shell,” Izmukhambetov told journalists in London, according to Kazinform.

“Preliminary talks have been concluded…the rest of issues will be discussed in detail in the near future,” he added.

‘Project N’ is in the south of the Kazakh waters of the Caspian Sea, 75 kilometers from the shore.

Preliminary estimates say the field has 1.48 billion metric tons, or 10.9 billion barrels, of oil reserves and 116 billion cubic meters of gas, making it one of the largest hydrocarbon deposits in the country.

KazMunaiGas declined comment on the talks and timetable being considered for the project.

“We’re looking forward to the working with the government and KMG on this project, which will contribute to the development of Kazakhstan’s energy resources,” a Shell spokesman said, but he declined to give any further details on the expected scope and timing of any agreement.

The project would be a substantial boost to Shell’s presence in the country, which consists mainly of one project – a 16.7% stake in the consortium developing the giant Caspian field of Kashagan.

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