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Itera to sell 51% of Sibneftegaz to Gazprombank

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MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Itera, Russia's No. 1 independent natural gas producer, will sell 51% of Sibneftegaz to Gazprombank, a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP], Itera and the bank said Thursday in a joint press release.

Gazprombank board chairman Andrei Akimov and Itera chief executive Igor Makarov signed a cooperation agreement on exploration of the Beregovoye gas and condensate deposit, which Sibneftegaz has a license to explore.

Gazprombank, which said Wednesday it would raise its charter capital through an additional share issue, and Itera will develop and implement a program to further explore and commercially operate the deposit, and then will connect it to Gazprom's Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS), reaching target production levels of 12 billion cubic meters a year.

Located in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area in West Siberia, the Beregovoye field, with estimated reserves of 320 billion cu m of natural gas, 4.9 million ton of gas condensate and 7.5 million metric tons (55 million bbl) of oil, was put into commercial operation in 2003, but was not connected to the UGSS.

UGSS is Russia's system for natural gas production, processing, transportation, storage and deliveries, including the world's largest pipeline network, which stretches for 150,000 kilometers (93,200 miles).

Itera is Russia's largest independent gas producer. Its charter capital is 60 million rubles ($2.22 million). It was founded by Cyprus-based company Itera Holdings Limited (99.99%) and Valery Otchertsov (0.01%).

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