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AFX UK (Focus): Kazakh parliament studying bill to nationalise oil fields

Published: Sep 13, 2007

MILAN (Thomson Financial) – The Kazakh parliament is studying legislation that would give the government the right to nationalise oil fields managed by foreign companies, the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore said citing a draft of the bill.

The amendment to the country’s legislation on natural resources would enable the government to annul two to six month-long contracts if there has been a significant change in circumstances that affects the country’s interests, and if no alteration is made to the terms of the deal, the newspaper said.

The daily cited Elan Nigmatulin, a member of the lower house of parliament that drafted the amendment, as saying the bill is inspired by Russian, US and Bolivian legislation.

The law, which will be retroactive, is already being examined in the lower house. If approved by the house it will be examined by the senate.

The Kazakh government is currently in talks with Eni SpA regarding a dispute over the Kashagan oilfield, where Italian oil company leads a consortium developing the field in the north of the Caspian Sea.

Kazakhstan has complained about the delays regarding the exploitation of the giant oilfield, which was initially due to start operations in 2005 and has been delayed to 2010.

If the amended legislation on natural resources was in place the Kashagan dispute would already be resolved, according to Nigmatulin.

The government has set a Oct 22 to reach a settlement for the Kashgan dispute.

The shareholders of the consortium are Eni, Total, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, with 18.52 pct each, while ConocoPhillips has a 9.26 pct stake, Kazmunaigaz 8.33 pct and Inpex 8.33 pct. [email protected] pw/ejp

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