Kazakh Oil Minister Hopes for Kashagan Deal by Nov 30

ROME Nov 14, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Kazakhstan Energy Minister Sauat Mynbayev Wednesday said he hopes to reach an accord with the consortium developing the giant Kashagan field by the end of the month.

Speaking at the sidelines of the industry's World Energy Congress here, he said that he's also willing to extend that deadline if the talks are not completed by Nov. 30.

The Eni SpA (E)-led consortium developing Kashagan is in a dispute with Kazakhstan over the buildup of costs and delays in the startup of production at the massive field.

"I'm not optimistic or pessimistic" about the ongoing talks, the minister said.

He said that Kazakhstan's government is looking to increase the stake of the state-owned oil company KazMunaiGas in the Kashagan project.

Eni, the sole Kashagan operator, holds an 18.5% stake in the development consortium, the same as ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) and Total SA (TOT).

ConocoPhillips (COP) holds 9.3%, while Japan's Inpex (1605.TO) and KazMunaiGas each own 8.3%.

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