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Russia, Kyrgyzstan eye joint energy projects

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MOSCOW, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom may be granted a license to develop Kyrgyzstan's hydrocarbon reserves, and start prospecting in March, Prime Minister Igor Chudinov said on Friday.

"We are pinning great hopes on cooperation with Gazprom in gas prospecting and production at two deposits in Kyrgyzstan," he said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart Viktor Zubkov.

He also said Russia and Kyrgyzstan would build the Kambaratinsk GES-2 hydro power plant, which will be able to meet energy demands in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia as a whole.

"We lack power generating capacity, and this project will help develop the energy sector not only in Kyrgyzstan, but in the entire region," the Kyrgyz prime minister said.

Kyrgyz experts have blamed the authorities for delays in talks with Gazprom on a joint project for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Kyrgyzstan.

Media quoted an analyst as saying Kyrgyzstan has so far "failed to offer acceptable terms" to Gazprom. "As a result, the state-run Kyrgyzneftegaz company in the country's south is only producing 70,000-90,000 tons of oil per year. In the meantime, demand for the Kyrgyz market is growing," he said.

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