Igor Chudinov said at a government session that a Gazprom delegation would arrive in Bishkek on 24 February and is expected to be granted a license for gas deposits in southern Kyrgyzstan. The premier said the country’s annual production could eventually be raised to about 300 million cubic meters of natural gas from the current 30 million cubic meters. The country buys around 800 million cubic meters, each year from neighboring Uzbekistan.
Gazprom earlier said it was ready to start prospecting work in Kyrgyzstan, which will be followed by a decision on setting up a joint venture to develop deposits. Gazprom and the Kyrgyz government signed a 25-year deal on gas cooperation on 16 May 2003.
In May 2007, the parties signed another deal on common principles of geological exploration in coordinated sectors in Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstan’s proven reserves of natural gas are estimated at 6 billion cubic meters. The development of gas fields has been held back by geological complications and undeveloped infrastructure.
The country is expected to raise its annual gas output to 40 million cubic meters by 2010. Gazprom is currently developing oil and gas fields at offshore areas in Venezuela, India, and in the Caspian Sea, and is also considering participation in oil and gas projects in Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Libya and Pakistan.