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Korea, Uzbekistan agree on gas development

Korea’s state-run Korea Gas Corp. will sign a preliminary accord with Uzbekistan’s state-owned Uzbeknefgaz next week to jointly develop a gas field in the central Asian country, officials in Korea said Friday.

The 50-50 deal calls for the two sides to set up a joint firm to develop the Surgil gas block in western Uzbekistan near the Aral Sea, said the officials at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. The Uzbek gas well is estimated to hold around 4.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, they said. Talks on joint development began in March 2006, but discussions have moved slowly over the last two years. Tashkent in 2005 selected Seoul as a strategic partner to develop its natural resources along with China and Russia. The country was estimated to hold roughly 1% of the world’s gas reserves in 2005 and produced 2% of the world’s output in the same year.

In addition to the gas development project, the Korean firm may invest $2 billion into other projects, including a petrochemical plant, the officials said. Infrastructure-poor Uzbekistan has been moving to use it natural resources as leverage to get foreign investors to build roads and power facilities in the country. (Korea Net)