. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Total Wants Part of $10Bln Rosneft Project

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan confirmed Thursday that French oil major Total had won a closed tender and was now in talks with the Kazakh state oil firm on obtaining a stake in the 1 billion ton Kurmangazy offshore project.

"We are now in talks with the government on a production-sharing agreement. Talks with Total are proceeding separately," Bakhytzhan Khasanov, head of state-run KazMunaiTeniz firm set up specially to develop Caspian hydrocarbon reserves, told reporters at an international oil and gas conference.

A Total source this week said the firm hoped for a 25 percent stake in the Russian-Kazakh project aiming to tap the Kurmangazy field, located near the giant Kashagan field and close to the Russian sector of the Caspian.

"We estimated [Kurmangazy's] reserves at approximately 1 billion tons of oil," Khasanov said.

Russian estimates put Kurmangazy's reserves at up to 700 million tons.

Kazakhstan and Russia agreed to split the field equally between Russia's state oil firm Rosneft and Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGaz state energy holding under a bilateral deal to divide the landlocked sea.

Rosneft says it may cost $10 billion to develop Kurmangazy. Analysts have questioned the ability of the medium-sized Kazakh and Russian firms alone to carry out the expensive development of Kurmangazy with its difficult deposits.

Rosneft and Total this week also agreed to jointly explore a shelf of the Black Sea. (Reuters, MT)