MOSCOW/DUSHANBE, June 10 (Source: RIA Novosti) - Russian energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] said on Tuesday it had signed a deal with the government of Tajikistan on prospecting four oil and gas fields in the Central Asian country.
Valery Golubev, deputy chairman of the Gazprom management committee, said after his meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon that Russia was willing to help the country develop its energy independence.
According to Golubev, Tajikistan's total oil and gas deposits are estimated at 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
Under the agreement, Gazprom will carry out a range of geological prospecting projects at the four deposits that the company considers to be the most promising.
"Each of these deposits has its own specifics, including low depth, and a natural gas structure with sulfur admixture. Therefore, Gazprom specialists estimate all geological prospecting at the four deposits at $500 million, to be contributed to the charter capital of future joint ventures with Tajikistan," Golubev said, adding that the Russian energy giant would also engage in the development of Tajikistan's gas transportation and distribution system.
Tajikistan currently consumes 800 million cubic meters of natural gas per year. The four deposits are expected to reach their target production capacity in three to five years, to bring Tajikistan's annual natural gas output up to 2 billion cubic meters and ensure the republic's energy independence.