Total and GDF Suez to invest 1 billion dollars in Kazakh gas field

French energy companies Total and GDF Suez will respectively take 17 percent and 8 percent of the Kazakh gas field project Khvalynskoye. The deal is supposed to be signed during an official visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Kazakhstan.


REUTERS - French energy players Total and GDF Suez will invest about $1 billion in a 25 percent stake in Kazakh gas field project Khvalynskoye, the head of Total said on Tuesday.

Total will have a 17 percent stake in the project, and GDF Suez will hold 8 percent, Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie told reporters on the sidelines of an official visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Kazakhstan.

The Caspian Sea’s Khvalynskoye field, jointly owned by Kazakh state energy firm KazMunaiGas and Russia’s LUKOIL, is due to come on stream in 2016 with an estimated production of 8-9 billion cubic metres of gas per year. The output is mainly intended for Russia.

This is GDF Suez’s first investment in Kazakhstan, but Total is already present in the country’s giant Kashagan oil field project, in which Total has a 16.8 percent stake.

Other shareholders are Italy’s Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and KazMunaigas.

Kashagan, which is considered the world’s biggest oil find since the discovery of Prudhoe Bay in Alaska in the 1960s, is located in the northeast of the Caspian Sea.

Production is due to start in 2012. The project was initially due to come on stream in 2005 but was delayed by technical issues and, more recently, by months of tense negotiations between Astana and Western majors to bring soaring development costs down.

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