Russia's state-run gas giant Gazprom and petrochemicals firm Sibur have signed a letter of intent to build new refining capacities for gas extracted from the giant Kovykta field in East Siberia, Gazprom Deputy Board Chairman Alexander Ananenkov said on Tuesday.
"We've signed an agreement to construct new gas refining facilities," Ananenkov said.
Earlier in March gas giant Gazprom purchased RUSIA Petroleum, the Kovykta license holder, from the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP for 25.8 billion rubles.
Ananenkov added that Gazprom's resource base in the Irkutsk region comprised 1.6 trillion cubic meters of gas at the Kovykta field, 400 billion cubic meters in the South Kovykta area and 100 billion cubic meters at the Chikan gas deposit.
TNK-BP controlled the Kovykta gas field for some 15 years and intended to supply gas from the field to China. However, the Russian authorities started asserting greater control over natural resources and dropped their previous plans to liberalize access to Gazprom's pipelines, which would have provided an outlet for Kovykta's gas to market.
TNK-BP argued that production targets set by the government for Kovykta became too onerous since it could not supply China, while local demand was weak.
The government threatened to revoke the Kovykta license from TNK-BP due to its low production levels, and the firm finally decided to quit the project in 2007.