June 14, 2008

Tethys Licensed to Develop 5 Gas Fields in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE. June 14 (Interfax) - Canadian-American company Tethys Petroleum Ltd has received license to work in 56 areas in Tajikistan that are believed to possibly contain natural gas and to develop five of them that are confirmed gas fields, the Tajik industry and energy minister announced on Friday.

The five fields, lying in the south of the country, contain estimated total gas reserves of 1.5 trillion cubic meters, the minister, Sherali Gul, told reporters.

Tajikistan's total gas deposits are put at 3 trillion cubic meters.

All the work will be done by Kulob Petroleum Ltd, a company fully owned by Tethys.

Tethys is taking on all expenditures for developing the fields, Gul said.

State company Tajikgaz will take hold of 30% of the gas to be obtained from the fields when production starts. But when Tethys has had all its prospecting and development spending paid back, gas that is produced will be distributed between Tajikgaz and Tethys "on the basis of the fifty-fifty principle," Gul said.

Tethys started operating in Tajikistan in November 2007 and has promised to put at least $8 million before the end of 2008 into preliminary explorations of gas fields that are poorly explored.

In October 2007, Tethys began to develop a gas field in Kazakhstan.

Tajikistan produced 17.4 million cubic meters of gas in 2007, which was 11.5% down on 2006. The country's gas production keeps declining.

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