September 8, 2008

Third Listing Primed As Exchanges Woo Kazakhstan Oil Producer

By Mark Leftly

KazMunayGas Exploration Production (KMG EP), the London and Kazakh-listed oil company, is mulling a flotation on a third stock exchange.

The group, which is partly state owned and Kazakhstan's second- biggest oil producer, has received offers from at least four other exchanges. KMG EP listed in London and Kazakhstan two years ago, raising $2.3bn (1.3bn).

Zhanneta Bekezhanova, chief financial officer, said: "We are thinking about a third exchange. We have received offers from Singapore, Hong Kong and Warsaw. We are looking at the proposals but have not yet decided."

Alexander Gladyshev, managing director of investor relations, added that the Karachi exchange in Pakistan had also contacted KMG EP about a float. The decision will ultimately be made by the Kazakh government.

The company, which produces more than 240,000 barrels of oil a day, is also in talks with authorities in Russia and Turkmenistan about joint ventures. Ms Bekezhanova said discussions were "ongoing" and announcements could be made next year.

News of a third listing came as some of Kazakhstan's most powerful men met in the capital Astana, seeking to calm fears over the security of energy supplies to the West following the Russia- Georgia crisis.

Timur Kulibaev, the billionaire oil executive who is widely tipped to be the next Kazakh president, told The Independent on Sunday: "All our major [energy] transport routes for Europe go through Russia. We do not face any problems with those deliveries for the time being."

Mr Kulibaev, chairman of KazEnergy, the country's powerful oil and gas trade association, was hosting an international conference last week, where the EU was attempting to improve links with the bloc's big energy suppliers.

Bonifacio Garcia Porras, a European Commission cabinet member for energy, said: "The EU wants to step up relations with its neighbours. [We are] intensifying the security of our energy supplies."

Leading oil executives warned of Russia's growing influence in the Caucasus and Eurasia. One Kazakh oil director said: "We support Russia."

But Kairgeldy Kabyldin, president of KazMunayGas, said the interests of private-sector energy groups would bring stability to the region, as governments would want to normalise relations to ensure investment. He conceded that Kazakh oil supplies through Georgia had been slightly delayed, but added that deliveries were back to normal. He also said that Kazakhstan could take part in US- led talks on the creation of new pipelines that would not pass through Russia. "We know the struggle between him [US Vice- President Dick Cheney] and Russia. We should always have an alternative route."

Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov said last week that the country aimed to "ensure stability of supplies and contracts, and provide a consistent basis for international partners operating in our country".


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