Project on modernization of Mubarek Gas Processing Plant suspended in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, Tashkent, June 23 / Trend, D.Azizov /

Swiss Zeromax GmbH has suspended construction works on the project of modernization Mubarek Gas Processing Plant in Kashkadarya region (south of Uzbekistan) in connection with the termination of funding, a source in Uzbekneftegaz, which includes the plant, said.

Total cost of the project is $220.7 million. China Development Bank issued $85 million loan to the project, while Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan allocated loan for $55.4 million. Local commercial banks issued loans for $50 million and Uzbekneftegaz will direct US$53.6 million. The project implementation will allow the enterprise to produce up to 258,000 tonnes liquefied gas and 125,000 tonnes of gas condensate a year. Over 80% of products will be exported. In line with the feasibility study, the zeolitic drying facility will comprise of three technologic lines with capacity of 4 billion cubic meters of gas a year each.

The project envisages building of booster station for processing natural gas, establishing zeolitic gas drying (to eliminate moisture) and facility on production of propane-butane mixture. The facility will allow to extract propane-butane fraction with supply of dried tank gas to pipelines of Uztransgaz joint stock company.

In January 2009, Zeromax GmbH won the tender on supply of equipment with assembly and commissioning services for construction of facility on production of propane-butane mixture at Mubarek Gas Processing Plant.

The Tashkent municipal economic court May 5 ordered Zeromax to halt its Uzbek operations and authorities to seize its Uzbek assets,. The court ruled against Zeromax on a US $500m unpaid debt.

A source in Uzbekneftegaz didn't rule out possibility to annul the contact with Zeromax and complete project itself.

Zeromax GmbH operates in Uzbekistan since 1999. The Company is co-founder of about 10 joint ventures and subsidiaries operating in the oil and gas complex of the republic.

According to Uzbekneftegaz, a branch of the Swiss company carries out about 80 percent of construction works in the oil and gas sector. In particular, Zeromax GmbH is one of the contractors for the construction of the Uzbek section of Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline. Total investment in the republic's economy amounts to $800 million.

Uzbekistan for natural gas ranks second among the CIS countries and among the ten largest gas-producing countries of the world.

In 2009, Uzbekistan has producedthe liquefied hydrocarbon gas at 0.7 percent less than in 2008 - 246,100 tons.

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