China leaves no chances to bidders for Kashagan stake01 july 2013, 22:06
The $15 billion offer of the Chinese company for the 8.4 percent stake of American ConocoPhillips in Kashagan is a strong commercial move that leaves no chances to its competitors (Indian and other companies), Tengrinews.kz reports citing senior analyst of the Agency for Research of Investments Profitability Murat Abulgazin.
China is ready to pay almost 3 times the set price. $15 billion is the amount equal to Kazakhstan’s debt to China.
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that Kazakhstan’s approval was required for the shareholders to sell their stakes in Kashagan. The Kazakhstan government has already started considering the offer, he said, adding: “I hope the process will be completed soon”.
According to Abulgazin, the Caspian Sea and the whole region around it has become a weighty geopolitical factor and Kashagan project can be used as a leverage to exert influence in Eurasia. “Of course, the majority of manifestations of this battle lay not in the monetary bargaining, but in political pressure on all the involved players, both governments and companies. It is also proved by the persistence of Beijing and Delhi, the announced amounts and the well-known position of the United States and their allies on participation of Chinese companies in the Caspian projects,” the analyst said.
Murat Abulgazin. Photo courtasy of odnoklassniki.ru/Murat Abulgazin
According to him, this political axiom feeds the problems of selection and participation of certain companies. “The conclusion is that despite of the doubtless financial advantages of China, it is not yet certain that the Chinese company will win. Everything will depend on results of the negotiations,” he said.
Meanwhile, participation of Chinese companies in Kashagan may accelerate its implementation amid China oil thirst, that is "higher" and even more "realistic" compared to that of the West, the expert said.
According to him, it is mostly geopolitical interest that governs Western countries' attitude to Kashagan and the Caspian Sea. “This may be one of the key reasons behind the delays at the first stages of the project. However, starting from 1991 the Caspian factor has allowed the West to toy with the ambitions of many oil and gas producing countries of Central Asia, the Persian Gulf, Maghreb and other regions, to lower Russia's influence and to harness China,” Abulgazin said.
In his turn, the leading expert of the managing company Finam Management Dmitriy Baranov believes that China would like to purchase the stake in this field just like any other country. “Amid the continuing depletion of hydrocarbons resources around the world, it is becoming more difficult to produce oil. There is less high-quality oil in the world and any country strives to be on the safe side and obtain access to reserves that are literally moving the world forward,” he said.
According to him, considering the characteristics of Kashagan field, its location and shareholders, the decision will be a political one and Kazakhstan authorities will have to make no mistakes making the choice. “Otherwise, they will not only mar the relations with several countries: the implementation of the project may get stalled if other participants start withdrawing. That’s why, considering all these circumstances, it is unlikely that the decision on changing the shareholders will be made quickly. Most probably, there will be difficult negotiations and consultations between all parties involved in the project,” the Russian expert said.
By Azhar Ashirova
A worker at Kashagan oil and gas field. ©REUTERS