Kyrgyzgas sale to Gazprom may be finalized within three months

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - The sale of state-operated energy transportation company Kyrgyzgaz may be finalized within the next three months, its deputy director said Thursday.
“If negotiations with Gazprom end positively, Kyrgyzgas will be privatized in three months,” the Bishkek-based news agency quoted Kyrgyzgas deputy director Kuralbek Naskeev as saying.
“The most important thing is that Gazprom will be engaged in gas exploration in the Kyrgyz Republic.”
Kyrgyzstan is ready to sell a 75 percent stake in its state-controlled gas supplier Kyrgyzgas to Gazprom for $1 to facilitate a solution to the country’s perennial energy and heating troubles, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiev said.
Senior managers of Kyrgyzgas and Gazprom were in Moscow Wednesday for two days of negotiations on the sale of a 75 percent stake in Kyrgyzstan’s national company. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller have reportedly agreed to approve a joint action plan to improve the country’s gas infrastructure within the next 10 days, and will present the terms of privatizing the gas firm in February.
Up to 100,000 residents of northern Kyrgyzstan were hit by power blackouts in recent days when Kazakhstan severely reduced gas exports on Thursday which coincided with a period of plummeting temperatures.
Gazprom has earlier expressed interest in the purchase and said it would satisfy Kyrgyz demand for 500 million cubic meters of gas per year from the Kugart and Mail-Suu-IV gas deposits in the south of the country.
Kyrgyzgas has been independently valued at between $20 million and $38 million. The company has $38 million of debts.
Kazakhstan increased supplies on Wednesday following emergency talks between the premiers of the two countries.