Sarkozy clinches $6 Billion in Kazakhstani Energy Deals
French President Nicolas Sarkozy oversaw oil, gas and nuclear deals worth more than $6 billion with Kazakhstan during a visit on Tuesday, establishing France as a key investor in the resource-rich state.
The West sees Kazakhstan, the largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia, as an increasingly important energy supplier as it ramps up production by tapping new oil and gas fields on its Caspian Sea shelf.
France's Total and GDF Suez on Tuesday got their share of future Caspian output by joining the project to develop the Khvalynskoye gas field, jointly owned by Russia's LUKoil and Kazakhstani state firm KazMunaiGas.
Khvalynskoye is relatively small, with estimated gas reserves of 332 billion cubic meters (bcm), while fields such as Russia's Shtokman and Turkmenistan's South Iolotan contain a few trillion cubic meters each.
But it is conveniently placed to feed into the Russian pipeline network and should eventually produce over 8 bcm of gas a year as well as some oil condensate.
Total already plays a central role in developing Kazakhstan's flagship oil project Kashagan, the world's biggest oil discovery in the last 30 years, also on the Caspian shelf.
On Tuesday, a consortium led by another French firm, Entrepose Contracting unit Spie-Capag, signed a memorandum with Kazakhstan under which it could get a contract to build a pipeline for the export of Kashagan crude.
Entrepose Contracting said the Yeskene-Kuryk pipeline, which will connect Kashagan to the Caspian Aktau port, could fetch 1.2 billion euros in contracts for French companies, Reuters reports.