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UpstreamOnline: Scaroni ready for Kashagan talks

By Upstream staff
11 September 2007 07:41 GMT  | last updated: 11 September 2007 07:48 GMT

Eni chief executive Paolo Scaroni is to meet Kazakh officials today with the aim of finding a solution to the dispute over the Kashagan oilfield.

Scaroni is due in the Kazakh capital Astana later today for closed-door negotiations with the energy minister, prime minister and other officials.

Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev, pressed by reporters ahead of the talks, gave few details on the proposed meeting.

“I will be talking to him [Scaroni] today,” Mynbayev said. “I will say something after the talks. I haven’t spoken to him yet.”

Kazakhstan, irritated by delays and cost overruns at the oilfield, suspended Kashagan’s operations last month and demanded the consortium led by Italy’s Eni pay billions of dollars in compensation.

Kazakhstan has accused the consortium of a host of violations, from environmental issues to fire safety rules, in a case which has triggered talk among analysts about so-called resource nationalism.

Last week, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov demanded a leading role for state energy firm KazMunaiGas in running the field after Astana criticised Eni as operator.

Speaking on the eve of the talks, Italy’s Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema said he hoped for a “breakthrough in negotiations” before Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s visit to Kazakhstan, expected in October, Reuters reported.

The other partners in the Kashagan consortium are Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, ConocoPhillips, Japan’s Inpex Holdings and Kazakh state company KazMunaiGas.

http://www.upstreamonline.com/incoming/article140464.ece

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