Oil and gas of Uzbekistan

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dec.29

By Demir Azizov- Trend:

According to Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company (NHC), the monopoly operator of Uzbekistan's oil and gas industry, the proven hydrocarbon resources of the country amounted to about eight billion metric tons of conventional fuel and perspective resources - about two billion metric tons for December 2014. The preliminary oil, gas and condensate reserves of Uzbekistan are estimated at 0.5 billion metric tons of conventional fuel.

At present, the amount of extracted hydrocarbon reserves was over 2.5 billion metric tons of conventional fuel. Some 65 percent of this volume fall to gas reserves.

Some 247 oil and gas fields have been discovered in Uzbekistan's five oil and gas regions so far. Around 104 of them are under development, some 79 have been prepared for development and conserved and geological exploration work is being held in 64.

Currently, there are five known oil and gas regions: Ustyurt, Bukhara-Khiva, Surkhandarya, Hissar and Fergana. They comprise 208,900 square kilometers of the country's territory.

To date, Uzbekistan has developed nearly 20 percent of the total volume of hydrocarbonic raw material resources, including 75 percent in Bukhara-Khiva region, 35 percent in South-West Hissar, 12 percent in Surkhandarya, 22 percent in Fergana and 10 percent in Ustyurt region.

In accordance with the concept for development of industry, it is planned to increase gas reserves 25 percent, oil reserves - by 1.63 times and gas condensate reserves - by1.33 times until 2020. The annual volume of search, exploration and parametric drilling will increase 2.5 times and will hit 300,000 linear meters annually.

Plans are to increase the area of 3D seismic survey from 1,640 square kilometers in 2010 to 4,000 square kilometers in 2020, at the same time reducing the 2D profile shooting from 16,850 linear kilometers to 15,100 linear kilometers.

Currently, the capacity of Uzbekneftegaz NHC allows it to produce around 70 billion cubic meters of natural gas and eight million metric tons of liquid hydrocarbons per year.

Uzbekistan reduced oil production by 7.1 percent to 2.9 million metric tons, while natural gas production decreased by 2.8 percent - up to 55.2 billion cubic meters in 2013 compared to 2012. There is no data on the hydrocarbon production, as well as its exports and imports in 2014.

Oil of Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan's oil reserves are estimated at 600 million barrels (82 million metric tons). Around 191 oil and gas fields have been discovered in the country's territory. Due to limited production volume, oil is used for providing national oil and gas processing plants in Uzbekistan and there is no export potential.

Uzbekneftegaz currently has 121 oil fields- 73 oil fields are being developed, 12 were prepared for industrial development, 28 - explored, eight - conserved.

According to the holding, the average level of oil recovery in these deposits is 23 percent. Moreover, about 40 percent of resources require additional drilling of a large amount of deep wells, including those with horizontal and branched shafts, as well as using the advanced technologies.

Currently, Uzbekneftegaz national holding company is involved in exploration to discover the deposits of heavy oil and bitumen in Korsagly-Dasmanagin area of the Surkhandarya region (south of Uzbekistan), "Besharcha" area in the Fergana region (east of the country), as well as does radial drilling at 25 oil and gas fields of Kashkadarya region, southern Uzbekistan, namely, "West and East Tashly", "North Shurtan", "Garmistan", "Yangi Karatepa" and "Kumchuk" fields.

Uzbekneftegaz plans to invest $235 million to increase oil production on fields in the country until 2020. Uzbekistan also continues exploration drilling to obtain shale oil in the Sangruntau field of northern Navoi.

The probable reserves of oil shale in Uzbekistan amount to about 47 billion metric tons. The diesel fraction obtained from shale in the Sangruntau field with reserves of 357 million metric tons (C1 + C2) reaches about 30 percent. This is the highest index among the major deposits of this type in the country.

Korea Resources Corp (KORES) and Uzbekistan's State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of a cost-effective technology for the extraction of metals from oil shale ash on the basis of Sangruntau field in Navoi region.

Russia's "St. Petersburg Research and Design Institute Atomic Energy Project" completed the preliminary feasibility study of an oil shale processing plant in the "Sangruntau" field for Uzbekneftegaz in October 2012.

In late 2014, the holding company planned to begin constructing a plant processing oil shale from "Sangruntau" field worth about $1 billion. A launch complex for processing two million metric tons of oil shale ore per year is planned to be built at the first stage (2014-2015).

The plant's capacity is expected to reach eight million metric tons of oil shale ore, but production - up to one million metric tons of oil annually in 2015-2018.

Uzbek gas projects

Kandym-Khauzak-Shady project

The Product Sharing Agreement on the Aral block Kandym-Khauzak-Shady was signed in 2006. The estimated cost of the project is $3.145 billion. The Aral block consists of two parts: exploration (the 5-year license was issued to the operator - "Aral Sea Operating Company" joint venture) and the subsequent development of the discovered hydrocarbon reserves with a validity of 35 years. The project was launched on Jan. 31, 2007.

The PSA was signed as part of an international consortium consisting of Uzbekneftegaz, Malaysian Petronas, Russian Lukoil Overseas Holding Co., Ltd., Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and China's CNPC. Each consortium member has an equal share in the agreement.

"LUKOIL Uzbekistan" LTD began implementing the "Early gas of Kandym group of fields and development of the northern part of Shady section" project in October 2013.

The LUKOIL Uzbekistan company commissioned a booster compressor station (BCS) on the Khauzak-Shady gas field in Bukhara region (south of Uzbekistan) in early December 2014. The commissioning of the BCS worth $120 million will provide an additional production of more than 1.5 million cubic meters of gas per day, which, taking into account the reconstruction of the gas preliminary preparation rig, will increase production at the field by 20 percent, or 4 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

The Russian company plans to bring the "Kuvachi-Alat" field with a design capacity of 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas into development in 2015. Around 11 billion cubic meters of gas per year are planned to be produced as part of the Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungrad project.

Lukoil Overseas signed an agreement with a consortium of banks on drawing a loan up to $ 500 million in March 2012 to implement the Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungrad project.

The consortium includes Asian Development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Credit Agricole CIB, BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA and Korea Development Bank (KDB).

ADB provided the Russian company with a loan worth $100 million and risk guarantees for the commercial part of the financing in the amount of $200 million as part of the consortium.

The loan was delivered to finance the investment program on developing the Kandym group of fields and increasing the production in the Khauzak-Shady territory.

Under the decision of Uzbek leadership, the participants of the Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungrad project - LUKOIL (90 percent) and Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company (10 percent) - should equip and put into development the Kuvachi and Alat fields of the Kandym group, as well as the northern part of the Shady block of Dengizkul field till Dec.30, 2014.

Within the Kandym project, LUKOIL plans to construct a gas processing plant with the design capacity of 8.1 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Uzbek leadership approved a $2.662 billion worth of contract between Lukoil Uzbekistan Operating Company LLC (subsidiary of LUKOIL in Uzbekistan) and South Korean Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd. which won the tender to build a gas processing plant (GPP) and equip the Kandym group of fields in December 2014.

The first phase of the Kandym gas processing plant is expected be launched by July 1, 2018.

Production sharing agreement on Southwest Hissar project

The production sharing agreement (PSA) on the Southwest Hissar project was signed in January 2007 for the period of 36 years and entered into force in April 2007. LUKOIL company joined the project in March 2008. The proven reserve of the block is estimated at 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas and nearly 23 million barrels of oil and condensate.

Lukoil Overseas, (wholly owned subsidiary of Russian LUKOIL) completed the deal to acquire SNG Holdings Ltd, including Soyuzneftegaz Vostok Limited which is a participant of the PSA for developing the fields in South-West Hissar and Ustyurt regions in Uzbekistan in March 2008.

The deal totaled $580 million. The second party to the PSA as the authorized state body is Uzbekneftegaz company.

The volume of reserve increased, several prospective structures were revealed and two new fields - Kyzylbairak-Southeast and Shamoltegmas - were discovered as a result of completion of 2D and 3D seismic surveys at the block in 2010.

Uzbekistan's share in the profitable products will range from 55 to 80 percent depending on the project's profitability.

Seven fields are located on the contract territory of Southwest Hissar (Kashkadarya province): Dzharkuduk-Yangi, Gumbulak, Amanata, Pachkamar and Adamtash gas condensate fields, South Kyzylbairak oil and gas and Koshkuduk oil field. Currently, small volumes of oil and gas condensate are being produced at South Kyzylbairak and Koshkuduk fields.

LUKOIL Overseas (the operator of LUKOIL's international upstream projects) produced the first gas at the largest field of the block - Dzharkuduk-Yangi Kyzylcha - as part of implementation of PSA on the development of gas reserve of Southwest Hissar (Kashkadarya province) in late 2011. It is planned to produce 16 million cubic meters of gas per day (5.8 billion cubic meters per year).

Currently, LUKOIL is implementing the project for equipping Southwest Hissar fields by constructing a complex gas treatment plant with the capacity of up to 4.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year, a gas-gathering station (1.8 billion cubic meters of gas), field support base, engineering services, transformer substation and other facilities. It is planned to complete the project in 2016.

Currently, LUKOIL works on the implementation of three projects in Uzbekistan - Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungrad, development of Southwest Hissar fields, as well as the geological exploration of the Uzbek section of Aral Sea as part of an international consortium.

The international consortium consisting of Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company, LUKOIL, Petronas, South Korean KNOC and Chinese CNPC was created in 2005 for the implementation of Aral project with equal - 20 percent - shares.

PSA on Aral block was signed in 2006 for the period of 40 years and consists of two parts: geological exploration (a license for geological exploration five years was issued to the operator - Aral Sea Operating Company JV) and the subsequent development of discovered hydrocarbon reserve for the period of 35 years. The implementation of the project started on Jan.31, 2007. During the initial stage of the exploration period (seismic survey and the drilling of two exploration wells) neared $100 million.

Petronas and KNOC withdrew from the consortium in May 2011 and September 2013, respectively. Currently, the share of Uzbekneftegaz company in the consortium is 33.4 percent, while the shares of CNPC and LUKOIL Overseas are 33 percent each.

Under the terms of the agreement, 10 percent of the products will belong to the participants of the consortium at the initial stage, while the minimum share of Uzbekistan will be equal to 50 percent. The PSA entered into force in January 2007.

The consortium completely implemented the program for the geological exploration work totaling 2,941 linear kilometers of seismic survey with 2D method by drilling two exploration wells in 2011. The project cost totaled $110.2 million.

A new hydrocarbon field - West Aral - with the preliminary estimated gas reserve of 11 billion cubic meters was discovered and six prospective structures were revealed as a result of the geological exploration work carried out at the initial stage. Four of these prospective structures were certified and prepared for deep drilling.

At the same time the consortium adopted a decision to invest additional $25 million by 2014, for the exploration of the contract area.

The operator completed the additional exploration in the western part of the block by drilling three wells and carrying out 3D seismic survey in August 2013. The volume of investments totaled $32 million.

One exploration and two dependent wells will be drilled at the current stage of the geological exploration work scheduled till mid-2016 taking into account the results of the exploratory drilling un the eastern part of Aral Sea.

Aral Sea Operating Company" (Aral Sea) operating consortium, which conducts the geological exploration of the Uzbek sector of the Aral Sea, will invest additional $30 million in this work in 2014-2016.

According to the data from Uzbekneftegaz, there may be over 30 anomalies related to the oil and gas objects within the waters of the Aral Sea's Uzbek part having an area of 12,500 square meters.

In the first two projects, Lukoil, under the production sharing agreement (PSA), plans to produce 18 billion cubic meters of gas by 2017. The cumulative natural gas production at the fields of the Lukoil Uzbekistan currently stands at 25 billion cubic meters.

Lukoil's total accumulated investments in Uzbekistan exceeded $3.5 billion. The company plans to invest in the projects in Uzbekistan a total of more than $8 billion.

The projects in Uzbekistan are operated by the Lukoil Uzbekistan Operating Company, which is a subsidiary of the Lukoil Overseas Holding Ltd.

The Malaysian company received a license for 35 years, taking into account a five-year exploration period as part of the PSA of Uzbekneftegaz and Petronas on the development of three fields - Urga, Kuanysh and Akchalak group in the Ustyurt region.

The company's investment in the project will amount to $500 million by 2014. A subsidiary company - Petronas Carigali (Urga) Operating Company was created to carry out the works.

Gazprom's project operator abroad, the Gazprom EP International, produces natural gas at the Shakhpakhty field in the north-west of Uzbekistan.

Gazprom launched natural gas production at the Shakhpakhty field (Ustyurt, Karakalpakstan, northwest of Uzbekistan) under the PSA in August 2004.

The Russian company invested $25 million in the project, and the total cumulative production to date stands at over two billion cubic meters.

A five-year program was adopted in 2006 for geological explorations in Uzbekistan's Ustyurt region, worth a total of $400 million.

The geological and geophysical surveys, as well as the drilling of prospect and exploration wells were carried out in 2006-2008. The Dzhel gas and condensate field was discovered at the Shakhpakhty investment block in 2009-2011. Preliminary calculations show that the field's gas reserves can reach about 10 billion cubic meters.

In February 2012, Gazprom announced about the completion of geological explorations in the Ustyurt region and its intention to expand the source base of projects in the country.

Gazprom increased gas production in Uzbekistan in 2014 by 8.7 million cubic meters from the projected level - up to 110.2 million cubic meters. The total volume of gas produced at the field since 2004, today exceeds 2.6 billion cubic meters.

Shakhpakhty is a gas condensate field in Uzbekistan, located in the territory of the Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic. The field was discovered in 1962. Throughout the entire period of its operation, some 39.1 billion cubic meters of gas has been extracted at the field, which is 84.1 percent of the initial approved reserves. At present, the recoverable reserves of Shakhpakhty are estimated at 7.4 billion cubic meters.

In February 2012, Gazprom announced about the completion of the $400 million worth geological explorations in Uzbekistan's Ustyurt region and its intention to expand the source base of its projects in the country.

In November 2014, Uzbekistan and Gazprom decided to sign a PSA until March 1, 2015 for the development of the Dzhel gas and condensate field.

The Dzhel field is located close to the Shakhpakhty field, which is operated by Gazprom and connected to main gas pipelines, and this makes the Dzhel field's development economically profitable.

Prospective projects

In October 2013, the National Holding Company (NHC) Uzbekneftegaz and the China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation (CNODC), a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), established a joint venture for further exploration and development of gas and condensate fields in Uzbekistan.

The joint venture's capacity may amount to 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. A feasibility study of the project for development of new fields is planned to be prepared in Q3, 2014.

In June 2006, CNODC signed an agreement with the Uzbekneftegaz to conduct $260.2 million worth geological explorations on five investment blocks within the Ustyurt, Bukhara-Khiva and Fergana oil and gas regions of Uzbekistan during five years.

In March 2009, the first phase of geological explorations were completed at Aralomorye and Samsko-Kosbulak investment blocks of Ustyurt oil and gas region, Karakul and Romitan investment blocks in the Bukhara-Khiva oil and gas region, and Karajida-Gumkhan investment block in Ferghana oil and gas region.

Three fields, namely, Khojasayat, Khojadavlat and East Alat fields were discovered at the Karakul block, and two promising structures were prepared for drilling.

In early 2012, CNODC and Uzbekneftegaz signed a supplementary agreement to extend the geological explorations for three years within the contract area with a condition of returning 25 percent of the contract area in future to the Uzbek side. The total investments will amount to $14.9 million.

Processing

Currently, processing of oil and gas condensate is carried out in three refineries of Uzbekistan - Fergana, Bukhara and Altyaryk. Refineries don't work at full capacity due to the shortage of raw materials.

Fergana and Altyaryk plants are fuel and oil directed ones, with a processing capacity of 5.5 million tonnes and 3.2 million metric tons of oil per year, respectively.

Bukhara refinery produces high-quality types of gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel. The design capacity of processing is 2.5 million metric tons of gas condensate per year.

Production of liquid hydrocarbons, including oil reduced due to the depletion of reserves in recent years in Uzbekistan. In 2012, oil production fell by 17.4 percent - up to 1.561 million metric tons.

Uznefteprodukt JSC (part of Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company (NHC)), is the owner of Fergana, Bukhara and Altyaryk refineries, which process hydrocarbons. The company owns a network of filling stations, gas stations and transshipment terminals, as well as sells oil products.

By the fall of 2015, Uzbekistan plans to complete construction of Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex (GCC) worth $3.9 billion.

Currently, the mounting of the process equipment is mostly completed, connecting of communications and mounting is underway. In late December 2014, it is expected to supply energy from the substation, which is constructed within the framework of the system of external electric power supply of the complex.

In 2011, Uzbekistan began construction of the Ustyurt GCC. The complex will enable processing some 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas with production of around 3.7 billion cubic meters of marketable gas, 387,000 metric tons of polyethylene, 83,000 metric tons of polypropylene, 102,000 metric tons of pyrolysis gasoline and other products.

The founders of Uz-KorGasChemical JV on an equal footing are Uzbekneftegaz and a Korean consortium, which is a part of Korean Gas Corporation Kogas, Honam Petrochemical and STX Energy companies. The project is funded by the investment of the joint venture founders and credit resources of commercial banks of Asia, Europe and Uzbekistan in the amount of $2.54 billion.

The raw material base of the project is the field Surgil (with reserves of about 120 billion cubic meters), East Berdakh-Uchsay and North Berdakh.

Shurtan GCC, the design capacity of which is 125,000 metric tons of polyethylene per year, was commissioned in 2001. The complex also annually produces 137 metric tons of liquefied gas, 130,000 metric tons of light condensate, 4.2 billion cubic meters of marketable gas, and 4,000 metric tons of sulfur.

Mubarek gas processing plant (GPP) was commissioned in 1971. At present, the capacity of the plant is about 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas and more than 570,000 metric tons of gas condensate per year.

Currently, Uzbekneftegaz NHC started implementation of a project worth $220 million to modernize Mubarek gas processing plant (Kashkadarya region, south of Uzbekistan).

The project includes the phased construction of the eighth phase of gas desulphurization as part of three universal blocks (the 19th, 20th and 21st) with a total capacity of six billion cubic meters per year.

In July 2013, Uzbekneftegaz NHC completed construction of the seventh phase of gas desulphurization as part of three universal blocks (the 16th, 17th and 18th) with a total capacity of six billion cubic meters per year. In Q3 of 2012, the 18th block was commissioned, and in the first half of 2013 - the remaining two blocks.

Contractor for the construction worth $171.8 million is divisions of Uzbekneftegaz NHC. The project was financed from the own funds of Uzbekneftegaz NHC.

The implementation of a new project will make it possible to ensure reliable operation of the installed capacities for the purification of natural gas from hydrogen sulfide and acid gas in the long term and to compensate the volume of natural gas processing at the GPP.

In 2012, Uzbekneftegaz and Indorama created on a parity basis the UzIndoramaGazChemical joint venture for the construction of the gas chemical complex on the basis of the Mubarek gas refinery. The project on the construction of a gas chemical complex with initial cost of $2.5 billion envisages the creation of a facility with production design capacity of about 500,000 metric tons of polyethylene per year.

Uzbekneftegaz, South African Sasol Synfuels International (Pty) Ltd. and Malaysia's Petronas International Corporation Ltd. (Petronas) signed founding documents in November 2009 on the establishment Uzbekistan GTL joint venture for the production of synthetic liquid fuels at the base of Shurtan MCC (Kashkadarya). Earlier, it was expected that the construction worth $5.6 billion will start in autumn of 2014 and will be completed in early 2018.

In 2011, the share of Malaysian companies in the joint venture, on the proposal of Petronas, was reduced to 11 percent, and the share of Sasol and Uzbekneftegaz increased by 44.5 percent.

In summer 2013, Sasol also announced its intention to reduce its share from 44.5 to 25.5 percent in the joint venture due to increased portfolio and significant investment in its projects in South Africa. The remaining part can be distributed among shareholders or transferred to new participants of the joint venture.

Uzbekistan started to form a banking consortium to finance plant construction GTL in September, 2013. In July 2013, Uzbekneftegaz started the construction of external infrastructure facilities of the plant.

It is planned that the plant will process 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas and produce 860,000 metric tons of diesel fuel, 360, 000 metric tons of jet fuel, 390, 000 metric tons of naphtha and 11,000 metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea) with which a contract worth $2.33 billion was signed December 2013, will deal with the technological part of the plant, while Uzbekistan's Shurtan gas chemical complex will provide raw materials.

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