Petronas Uzbekistan agrees to upstream, petchem projects

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 12 -- Malaysia's state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd., through its subsidiary Petronas Carigali Overseas Sdn. Bhd., has signed three agreements with Uzbekistan—two for oil and gas exploration in southern Uzbekistan and one for a petrochemical project.

PCOSB signed a production-sharing agreement (PSA) for the Baisun Block in the Surkhandarya region. Under the agreement, which PCOSB expects to enter into next year, the firm will hold a 100% equity stake and will be operator for the block.

PCOSB currently is undertaking exploration work on the 3,150-sq km block under a joint-study agreement signed with Uzbek national oil company Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Co. (UNG) in 2005.

The exploration agreement for the adjacent Surkhanski Block grants PCOSB the right to carry out exploration work on the 7,200-sq km block and will position the firm for a PSA if hydrocarbons are discovered.

Petronas also signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with UNG for petrochemical projects in Uzbekistan, under which Petronas and UNG will undertake joint studies and cooperate in development of downstream petrochemical projects in Uzbekistan.

UNG operates ethylene and polyethylene plants at the Shurtan Gas Chemical Complex in Qashqadaryo Province.

The agreements boost Petronas's involvement in the Central Asian country where it already has a 20% stake in the Aral Sea PSA. Other partners in that venture include UNG, CNPC International Ltd, Korea National Oil Corp. and Lukoil Overseas Holding Ltd.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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