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Gazprom to buy Kyrgyz gas operator for $1: Kyrgyzgaz

21 december 2012, 18:01
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
Russia's gas giant Gazprom is taking a controlling stake in Kyrgyzstan's debt-ridden state gas company for one dollar, Kyrgyzgaz said on Friday, AFP.

"The price has been set at one dollar" for 75 percent of the company, considering its estimated debt of $38 million, said Kyrgyzgaz director Turgunbek Kulmurzayev.

Gazprom is eventually planning to buy 100 percent of the company and invest 20 billion rubles ($660 million) over five years, he said.

"The issue of Kyrgyzgaz's privatisation will be resolved by April 1, 2013."

Deputy Director Kuralbek Naskeyev said Gazprom intended to transport gas from Russia through either Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, as there is no direct link.

He added that Kyrgyzgaz also hoped to build a pipeline in the north of the country to transport gas to China.

"But the main thing is that Gazprom will be doing exploration in Kyrgyzstan," Naskeyev told reporters.

He said the company was recently evaluated by Deloitte accounting firm, which concluded that its state-owned stake was worth $38 million -- the same size as its debt.

Gazprom said in a statement Friday that its chief Alexei Miller met with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev to discuss the purchase and other forms of energy cooperation.

Kyrgyzgaz is 82.3-percent owned by the state.

The small Central Asian country buys most of its gas from Uzbekistan, although there are gas fields in the south of the country, which Gazprom estimates to hold six billion cubic metres (212 billion cubic feet) of recoverable natural gas.

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