Kazakhstan authorities have completed the unbundling of gas pipeline operator Kaztransgaz from state run oil and gas company KazMunayGaz after months of wrangling and regulatory delays.

KazMunayGaz said it has completed the transfer of its 100% shareholding in Kaztransgaz to state welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna in exchange for a nominal payment of 1 Tenge (0.2 US cents).

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Kazakh authorities ordered KazMunayGaz to start the unbundling process in June 2020 in an effort to make Kaztransgaz independent from oil and gas producer.

KazMunayGaz said the process took so long to complete because it had to satisfy various regulatory and financial conditions, and gain approval from investors holding Eurobonds issued by the company.

International banks acting as creditors for the company also had to agree to the transaction.

Despite the stake's low nominal value, Kaztransgaz has been a key revenue driver for KazMunayGaz since becoming a part of the company in 2002, with its low operating costs and high profitability acting as a major contributor to the balance sheet.

Kaztransgaz’s contribution to KazMunayGaz’s total revenues have increased in recent years following the construction of new domestic pipelines and the Kazakh segment of the Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan-China gas pipeline.

Kaztransgaz now operated 20,000 kilometres of trunklines in Kazakhstan, double the amount it operated in 2000, according to KazMunayGaz.

The operator transported over 71 billion cubic metres of gas between January and September this year, a 12% increase over 2020, KazMunayGaz said earlier.

KazMunayGaz's gas transmission segment posted revenues of almost 451 billion tenge ($1.1 billion) and a net profit of 262 billion tenge for the first half of this year, according to its latest financial statement, compared with company’s total revenues of 3.1 trillion tenge and net profit of 644 billion tenge for the same period.

KazMunayGaz added that, following the departure of the pipeline operator, the holding company's total debt — reported at $8.7 billion as of 30 June — has declined by $1.1 billion.