22 Sep 2009 17:59

Russian govt, Gazprom discussing purchase of Kovykta stake

MOSCOW. Sept 22 (Interfax) - The Russian government and Gazprom are currently discussing the purchase of a stake in RUSIA Petroleum , which owns the giant Kovykta gas condensate field, TNK-BP co-owner Mikhail Fridman told journalists on Tuesday.

"We intend to sell this stake. It's not crucial for us who the buyer is - Gazprom or the government," he said.

Gazprom, BP and TNK-BP agreed two years ago on the sale of a controlling stock interest in the Kovykta gas condensate field to Gazprom, however talks on the details of the transaction reached a deadlock. The talks were further complicated by a dispute among TNK-BP shareholders, and then Gazprom put its interest in the asset on the back burner during the peak of the crisis.

Subsurface management agency Rosnedra considered revoking the license for Kovykta field from RUSIA Petroleum two years ago due to violations in the schedule of the field's launch and insufficient production levels. Under the license terms for the field, RUSIA Petroleum was to produce and supply at least 9 billion cubic meters of gas for the needs of the Irkutsk region. The company said that, while the region does not consume this much gas, it was prepared to begin producing and supplying gas.

The Kovykta field has C1+C2 reserves of 2 trillion cubic meters of gas.