Turkmenistan sees $4 bln foreign energy investment

* 2010 investment to exceed $2.8 bln in 2009

* Preparing Caspian PSAs with Chevron, Total – source

By Marat Gurt
ASHGABAT, Oct 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Turkmenistan expects to attract
more than $4 billion this year from foreign investors interested
in a share of the Central Asian country’s lucrative oil and
natural gas reserves, a government official said.

Ashir Begliyev, who represents Turkmenistan’s state agency
for hydrocarbon resources, said this year’s total foreign
investment would exceed the $2.8 billion spent by international
companies in the Turkmen energy sector last year.

Ex-Soviet Turkmenistan is looking to diversify energy sales
from its traditional market, Russia, and is courting investors
from the West, China and other Asian countries keen to exploit
oil fields and the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves.

“Turkmenistan … has a strategy to diversify its export
routes to world markets and is using all means at its disposal
to realise major new projects in this field,” Turkmen President
Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said on state television on Thursday.

He said the country was “prepared to extend its cooperation
with foreign, including European, partners”.

A separate source in the Turkmen government said he expected
the country to sign production sharing agreements (PSAs) in the
near future with U.S. major Chevron Corp (CVX.N: ) and France’s
Total (TOTF.PA: ) to develop oil fields in the Caspian Sea.

The source declined to give more details.

In August, the country selected Chevron, ConocoPhillips
(COP.N: ), Houston-based TXOil Ltd and Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala
Oil and Gas as the preferred bidders for two offshore oil blocks
within Turkmenistan’s part of the Caspian Sea. [ID:nLDE67C0QU].

“Since first realising PSAs on the territory of
Turkmenistan, more than $9 billion has been invested,” Begliyev
told a meeting of the Turkmenistan-United Kingdom Trade and
Industry Council.

He said foreign companies extracted 4 million tonnes of oil
in Turkmenistan in 2009, compared with 70,000 tonnes in 1997,
the first year of PSAs in the country.

Turkmenistan is putting 30 exploration blocks in the Caspian
Sea up for tender, which it says together contain 12 billion
tonnes of oil and 6.2 trillion cubic metres of natural gas.
(Writing by Robin Paxton; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)

Turkmenistan sees $4 bln foreign energy investment