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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

gasprom seeks equality in kazakh gas project

LONDON -- Russia's giant gas monopoly Gazprom wants equal rights as a condition for taking part in a multi-billion-dollar project with British Gas and Agip SpA in Kazakhstan, a senior Gazprom official said Friday.

"Gazprom will only take part as a partner with equal rights," Deputy Chairman Valery Remizov said during a break at a gas conference.

British Gas and Agip have offered Gazprom a 15 percent stake in the project to develop the huge Karachaganak gas and condensate field.

Remizov said Gazprom's participation could be decided by the end of the year. "We have not changed our position. Unfortunately, at the present time, we cannot take any decisions."

"Kazakhstan's position will determine whether Gazprom takes part or not. We do not intend to provide any services to anyone. We are too big a company, we have too many problems and too many projects that we want to implement in Russia," he said.

When asked if Gazprom was satisfied with the offer of a 15 percent stake, Remizov said: "We are not so poor. If there are three partners and Gazprom is invited to become the fourth, there must be equal conditions for all."

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his Kazakh counterpart have already agreed in principle that Russia would like to participate in the Karachaganak project.

Karachaganak, discovered in 1979, has proven reserves of 1.3 trillion cubic meters of gas, 650 million tons of gas condensate and 200 million tons of oil.

Gazprom's participation could be crucial for securing access to export pipelines which all run through Russia.