"Some very important agreements have been signed today. They concern the terms for the purchase of natural gas from the Karachaganak field [in Kazakhstan], and this is very important for the success of our joint venture in Orenburg," Alexei Miller said.
Kazakh Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Baktykozha Iamukhambetov said that under the agreement, Kazakh gas will be delivered to Russia "at less than $145 per 1,000 cubic meters."
At a meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev earlier Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said a long-term (15-year) treaty was crucial for the effective implementation of the Russian-Kazakh gas project.
Gazprom's board of directors approved the company's participation in a joint venture with Kazakhstan's state-owned KazMunaiGaz last September.
The company, to be established at the Orenburg Gas Processing Plant, will refine hydrocarbons produced in the Orenburg Region and at the Karachaganak gas and condensate deposit in Kazakhstan.
It will achieve maximum capacity (30.6 billion cu m, including 15 billion cu m of Karachaganak deposit) in 2012.
The company said earlier the enterprise will allow Gazprom not only to modernize the Orenburg plant, but improve supply of raw materials, boost output and raise profits.
Production at the Orenburg gas and condensate deposit, the main source for the plant, has been falling since 1997.