Turkmenistan grants Monument/Mobil exclusive rights

Jan 22, 1997 01:00 AM

Turkmenistan is to hand over most of its main oil-producing region in the west of the country to a US-UK consortium of oil groups in order to boost declining oil output. A memorandum of understanding was signed in Ashgabad, giving UK's Monument Oil and Gas and Mobil exclusive rights to negotiate a production-sharing contract. The 20,000 square kilometre area stretches from the Cheleken Peninsula in the north, to the southern border with Iran. It encompasses dozens of oil fields, including all the main western oil reserves. The deal marks a major turning point in Turkmenistan's oil policy. Until recently, the country had made little progress in implementing market reforms. The decision to bring in foreign oil companies follows the repeated failures of Turkmaneft, the state oil company, to meet the government's production targets. Unlike Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan has few large oil fields. But combining the western oilfields in a modern integrated development plan could result in substantial production increases and would justify the building of new oil export routes. These could include pipelines to Kazakhstan in the north and Iran in the south, as well as shipments through the Caspian by tanker to new pipelines to be built there. Turkmenistan produced about 110,000 bpd of oil and gas condensates last year and is aiming to double output by 2000.

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