BISHKEK, May 26 (RIA Novosti) – Kyrgyzstan’s government has approved an agreement between Bishkek and Moscow on the sale of the country’s national gas company to Russian energy giant Gazprom, a Kyrgyz government spokesman said on Sunday.
The agreement on the sale of Kyrgyzstan’s debt-ridden company Kyrgyzgas for a nominal price of $1 was reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Bishkek in late 2012. The Kyrgyz gas operator has debts of $38 million.
Gazprom has been offered to buy 75 percent of Kyrgyzgas. The Russian energy giant said earlier it was willing to buy a 100 percent stake in the Kyrgyz company.
The deal to buy Kyrgyzgas would allow Gazprom to start prospecting and developing the Mailuu-Suu-IV and Kugart gas deposits in southern Kyrgyzstan.
This would allow the impoverished ex-Soviet republic to meet domestic demand for 500 million cubic meters of gas a year. Gas remains the main heating fuel for domestic use in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and the surrounding area.
Kyrgyzstan currently does not produce natural gas and is wholly dependent on imports from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Under the agreement, Gazprom is to invest at least 20 billion rubles ($640 million) in the modernization and reconstruction of the country’s gas infrastructure within five years, the spokesman said.
President Putin is due to arrive in Bishkek on Monday evening to hold meetings with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon and attend an informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).