Russian investor signs up to Uzbek gas project
Thursday, Dec 07, 2017
Russian entrepreneur Andrey Filatov has joined a group of investors planning to develop the 25 Years of Independence gas field in Uzbekistan’s southern Surkhandarya region.

The Surhan Gas Chemical Operating (SGCO) consortium overseeing the project revealed last week that Filatov’s Brighttree Holding vehicle, registered in Cyprus in 2016, had snapped up a 50% stake in one of its members, Altmax Holding.

As a result, Brighttree will gain a 37.5% indirect share in SGCO. The consortium also comprises Gas Project Development Central Asia, a joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom and its financial arm, Gazprombank, and Uzneftegazdobycha, a subsidiary of Uzbekistan’s national oil company (NOC) Uzbekneftegaz.

The team of investors settled on the basic terms of a producing-sharing agreement (PSA) with the Uzbek government in April to develop 25 Years of Independence, estimated to contain as much as 100 bcm of natural gas. Under the agreement, they will also build a gas chemical complex at the site.

By the end of 2018, SGCO aims to confirm the field’s resources after drilling an appraisal well, and finalise the commercial terms of the PSA. Under the first stage of the project, earmarked to cost US$2 billion, the consortium will launch gas production at the field.

Output is expected to sit initially at 2 bcm per year, before rising to 4 bcm per year after further development work. The second stage calls for the construction of a gas processing and petrochemical complex at the field at a cost of US$3 billion.

Leading field services companies including Haliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger and National Oilwell Varco have been contacted for providing services at the field, SCGO said in its statement.

Under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who took office last year after the death of his predecessor Islam Karimov, Tashkent has made moves to revitalise its energy industry by opening up to outside investment. Earlier this year the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) returned to Uzbekistan after a decade-long absence, citing the new leadership’s reforms.

“The Uzbek economy is developing rapidly; the country demonstrates openness and has been creating new opportunities for business,” Filatov said in a statement, explaining his decision to invest in the Uzbek gas project. “I am confident that such a welcoming policy will indeed attract a wide circle of new players to the country, including large European and US investors, international consortia of banks and other financial institutions.”

Filatov holds stakes in Russian railway companies Globaltrans and Transoil, as well as container terminal operator Global Ports. In 2013, he established Tuloma, an enterprise that specialises in investing in the Russian oil industry. Tuloma currently holds shares in private oil and gas producers Novatek, Surgutneftegas and Lukoil, as well as the Pskov oil export terminal in northwestern Russia.

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