HONG KONG - Chinese oil giant China National Petroleum Corp. and France's Total SA have finalized an agreement with Tethys Petroleum Ltd. to develop oil and gas assets in Tajikistan, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
Senior officials of the three companies are due to sign the agreement later Tuesday in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, the person said.
The contract is another piece in a jigsaw of projects being put together by China's state oil companies to diversify energy supplies through investments in foreign oil and gas assets and the construction of a global network of refineries, pipelines and receiving terminals.
London-and-Toronto-listed Tethys, which is also developing oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, first announced plans to bring in partners for the Bokhtar contract in Tajikistan last October.
In December it announced a farm-out agreement and production-sharing pact with CNPC and Total each taking a one-third stake in the Bokhtar project, which Tethys has said may contain 3.22 trillion cubic meters of gas and 8.5 billion barrels of oil.
The venture needed government approval, which was subsequently given, paving the way for the final agreement.
Executives from the three companies weren't immediately available for comment.
In January, Tethys Executive Chairman David Robson said CNPC was considering investing in a new gas pipeline from Tajikistan to western China which could potentially be used to transport gas from the venture. "Tajikistan is able to supply a huge amount of natural gas to China. Based on the audited figure, there is enough gas in Tajikistan in our area to supply China's natural gas demand in the next 25 years," Mr. Robson said then.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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