The PSA was signed in Tashkent on August 30, 2006 by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the consortium of investors comprising National holding company Uzbekneftegaz, CNPC International (China), Korea National Oil Corporation (Korea), LUKOIL Overseas (Russia) and Petronas Carigali Overseas (Malaysia). In accordance with the commitments of the investors 2,300 line kilometers of 2D-seismic will be acquired in 2007-2008. PetroAlliance was selected as the contractor after the tender held by Aral Sea Operating Company, established by the investors and registered in Uzbekistan.
Seismic operations will cover the aquatic area of Uzbekistan sector of the Aral Sea, the transit and the terrestrial zones. Base camps for marine and onshore seismic crews have been set up; the seismic equipment has been mobilized, tested and tuned.
To date the specialized inspection under the State Committee for Nature of Uzbekistan has completed the environmental audit of the contract area. Seismic quality control contractor (Russian company IrtyshGeophysics) has been selected on a tender basis. Tenders are being held to select contractors to carry out environmental monitoring of seismic operations and design and survey work to build a motor road to the Vozrozhdenya Peninsula.
Besides the seismic, the first stage of the exploration works under the Aral project includes the drilling of two exploration wells. Minimal financial commitment of this stage is approximately $100 million; the duration of the stage is three years. A feasibility study based on the obtained results will be drafted and approved with the subsequent adjustment of the commercial terms of the PSA. The exploration operations of the second stage will be carried out after that.
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