Tajikistan, Gazprom set to ink oil and gas joint venture deal

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Tajikstan's prime minister Tuesday heralded an initiative to create an oil and gas joint venture with Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

DUSHANBE, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Tajikstan's prime minister Tuesday heralded an initiative to create an oil and gas joint venture with Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

"Fuel supplies are crucial for Tajikistan during the winter period, which is why we attach great importance to cooperation with Gazprom," Akil Akilov said.

A source said Akilov and Gazprom CEO Alexander Miller would sign a memorandum on creating the joint venture before Miller returns to Moscow Tuesday night.

Miller also hailed the deal, while saying that technical questions remained to be solved.

"The main goal now is to identify an organization and legal mechanism for investment and operation of the projected joint venture," he said.

Akilov said development of Tajikistan's gas resources - although not huge at about a trillion cubic meters - is vital for the country.

Under the deal, Gazprom will develop four gas fields - Sarikamysh and Rengan in the west, and Sargazon and Olimtoi in the south. Proven gas resources in Sarikamysh and Rengan total 40 billion cubic meters and Sargazon 30 billion, while the Olimtoi deposit has yet to be prospected, Akilov said, adding that all were well served by infrastructure.

"All the deposits have the infrastructure, electricity transmission lines, and railway communications," he said. "Sarikamysh is located near the main gas pipeline."

Miller, scheduled to meet Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov later Tuesday, said the question of shares in the new JV would also be discussed in the day. He added that Gazprom had plans to open a subsidiary, Zarubezhneftegaz, in Dushanbe.

"We intend to work rapidly and promptly," Miller said.

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