Major events in Caspian countries' oil and gas industry for last week (Jan. 23-28)

Azerbaijan, Russia sign document on double increase in gas supplies

Gazprom and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) have signed an additional agreement to double Azerbaijani gas purchases to 3 billion cubic meters in 2012. SOCAR and Gazprom signed a contract on Azerbaijani gas sales on Oct. 14, 2009. According to an addendum to the contract signed in early September 2010, Gazprom should have gotten 2 billion cubic meters in 2011 and will get over 1 billion in 2012. Supplies to Russia started from Jan.1, 2010.

Turkmen, Afghan presidents focus on TAPI gas pipeline project

Negotiations were held between the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov and Hamid Karzai in Turkmenbashi. During the meeting special attention was paid to cooperation in the fuel and energy sectors and specifically the implementation of the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. The TAPI project was launched in December 2010 in Ashgabat when important agreements were concluded following the high level summit. The length of the TAPI may reach over 17,000 km. The design capacity is about 33 billion cubic metres of gas per year, while the cost is estimated at $7-8 billion. The source of raw materials in addition to the Dovletabad field will come from the Galkynysh field, which is one of the world super giants.

Moody's assigns rating to SOCAR debut Eurobond

Moody's Investors Service has today assigned a provisional (P) Ba1 rating to the upcoming debut Eurobond to be issued by State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). The outlook is stable. Moody's expects that the Eurobond issuance will total up to $500 million. The proceeds of the notes will constitute general unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of SOCAR. Assignment of a (P)Ba1 rating to SOCAR's upcoming debut Eurobond issuance is aligned with its Ba1 corporate family rating (CFR) and probability of default rating (PDR).

Kashagan budget may rise by $7 billion

The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) has assessed the budget of the first stage of the Kashagan oil and gas project to be $7 billion more expensive. At present proposal of the NCOC shareholders on increase in the budget of the first stage of developing the field is under the consideration of the Kazakh oil and gas ministry. "The project to increase the first stage is under consideration," Kazakh Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev said. Kashagan is Kazakhstan's super-giant oil and gas field located in the Caspian Sea. According to Kazakh geologists, the reserves at Kashagan are estimated at 4.8 billion tons of oil. The largest participants of the Kashagan project are the companies Eni (roughly 16.81 percent), KMG (roughly 16.81 percent), Total (roughly 16.81 percent), ExxonMobil (roughly 16.81 percent), and Royal Dutch Shell (roughly 16.81 percent). Other participants are ConocoPhillips (8.4 percent) and Inpex (7.56 percent).

Kazakh fuel market operators establish association

Kazakh operators in the fuel and lubricant market have created an association. The association comprising legal bodies and individual entrepreneurs entitled Kazakh Fuel Association 1 was registered at the Justice Ministry. It has been founded by 16 independent operators of the fuel market. The purpose of creating the Kazakh Fuel Association is an effective partnership with state agencies responsible for monitoring the production and turnover of oil products; protect the interests of those in the fuel market, as well as take part in the preparation and making amendments to the bill on the turnover of oil products and other regulations relating to the activity of filling stations.

Iran may immediately halt oil exports to EU

The Iranian parliament has prepared a bill for an immediate cessation of oil exports to the European Union. According to one of the bill's items, Iran should immediately cease oil exports to the European Union, without waiting for the entry into force of the ban on imports of Iranian oil imposed by the EU. The bill also prohibits the imports into Iran of other products from the EU. EU foreign ministers reached an agreement in Brussels on January 23 to impose sanctions on oil imports from Iran as of July 1. New sanctions were imposed because of the fact that Iran, in the opinion of the European Union, still unwilling to cooperate with the international community on issues related to the development of its nuclear program.

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