Joint Venture Established for Exploration in the Uzbek Part of the Aral Sea

Today in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, an Agreement on the Establishment of the Investors’ Consortium was signed; the Consortium included Uzbekneftegas, LUKOIL Overseas, Petronas Carigali Overseas (Malaysia), Korea National Oil Corporation (Republic of Korea) and CNPC International Ltd. (China).

The Consortium is planning to hold negotiations with the Republic of Uzbekistan for drafting the production sharing agreement (PSA) for exploration and production of oil and gas fields in the Uzbek part of the Aral Sea.

Each member of the consortium has an equal participation share. Discussion of the Agreement on the Establishment of the Consortium started in May of the current year. The PSA is planned to be signed in 2006, and after that the seismic work will start in the contract area.

Over the last several years, 8 gas condensate fields were discovered in the Ustyurt region, where the contract area is located. Two of them – East Berdakh and Uchsay – have been brought into development.

The geological studies carried out by NHC Uzbekneftegas and a number of other companies demonstrate a high hydrocarbon potential of the Aral Sea.