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Reuters: Kazakhstan says seeks 16.8 pct stake in Kashagan

Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:07am GMT

ASTANA, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Kazakh Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev said on Tuesday his country was seeking a 16.8 percent stake in the giant Kashagan oilfield, confirming earlier plans to get a stake equal to those of the projects’ largest participants.

The Central Asian state is seeking a cash payment and a stake increase as compensation for cost overruns and delay in the start of production at the world’s biggest oil find in the last 30 years.

“We hope to increase Kazakhstan’s stake to 16.8 percent,” Munbayev told reporters.

Such a stake would equal those of four largest participants – Eni (ENI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) after a pro-rata cut in favour of Kazakh state company KazMunaigas by all other consortium members. Each of the four has 18.52 percent at the moment.

KazMunaiGas [KMG.UL], which currently holds 8.33 percent, has earlier said it was aiming for such redistribution. Two other participants in the project are ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote, Profile, Research) with 9.26 percent and Japan’s Inpex (1605.T: Quote, Profile, Research) with 8.33 percent.

Mynbayev also confirmed Exxon was the only company opposing the scheme. Exxon has said it was not against cutting its stake, but the sides had yet to agree on its value.

Negotiations are set to continue until Jan. 15.

“We know what price we are offering and what price they (foreign companies) would agree to,” Mynbayev said. (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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