Beregovoye gas deal in the pipeline

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and independent gas producer Itera are set to unveil a deal in March under which the former will take a 51% stake in the development of the Beregovoye gas field in West Siberia, writes Vladimir Afanasiev.

The licence for the field is held by Sibneftegaz, in which Itera holds a 79% stake. Moscow daily Kommersant said Itera will hand a 51% stake to Gazprom without payment.

In return, Gazprom will start accepting gas from the Beregovoye field into its trunk pipeline system to resolve a long-standing dispute.

An Itera spokesman confirmed an agreement had been drafted but would not comment on the size of the stake Gazprom will receive.

But he added the company was sure Beregovoye would start producing gas soon.

Itera prepared the field for commercial gas production in May 2003 but was unable to bring it online because Gazprom said there was no pipeline capacity available.

The monopoly argued that Itera was a year late with Beregovoye. During this time, the pipeline was filled by output from the Zapolyarnoye gas field.

Itera estimates Beregovoye could produce about 10 billion cubic metres per year.

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