PetroChina to drill in Uzbekistan

PetroChina will form a JV with state-owned Uzbekneftegaz to develop Mingbulak oil field in Namangan province on the northern edge of the Fergana Valley in northeastern Uzbekistan.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21 -- China National Petroleum Corp. subsidiary PetroChina will form a joint venture with state-owned Uzbekneftegaz to develop Mingbulak oil field in Namangan province on the northern edge of the Fergana Valley in northeastern Uzbekistan.

The joint venture "will help meet Uzbekistan's demand for oil and boost the development of China's natural gas upstream business and the Central Asia-China natural gas pipeline project," CNPC said.

CNPC in January started building the CAC pipeline, which will transport gas from Turkmenistan, through Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan, to western China's Xinjiang region. The pipeline, scheduled to start operations in 2009, will have a transmission capacity of 1.1 tcf/year of gas.

CNPC, which did not disclose any financial details of the new agreement, said production from Mingbulak field, which has reserves estimated at more than 30 million tonnes, is expected to reach 2 million tonnes/year.

Earlier this month, Malaysia's Petronas launched geological exploration at the Surkhan Block in Uzbekistan's Surkhandarya region.

Petronas signed an agreement with the Uzbek government in December 2007 on exploratory work on Surkhan and negotiated the main principles of a product-sharing agreement on the Baisun Block.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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