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BISHKEK, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Gazprom natural gas monopoly on Thursday signed with Kyrgyzstan an agreement on the purchase of 100% of shares of Kyrgyzstan’s debt-ridden state gas company Kyrgyzgaz for $1.
The new Gazprom unit will be called Gazprom-Kyrgyzstan, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said. According to him, “the main goal of the new company will be to ensure uninterrupted supply of natural gas in the needed volumes to Kyrgyz consumers.”
Under the bilateral agreement, Gazprom will allocate at least 20 billion rubles within 5 years for the modernization of gas distribution networks of Kyrgyzstan the length of which is some 700 kilometers.
“We also intend to resume geological prospecting work in Kyrgyzstan in order to raise the republic’s potential. Today, the country produces less than 30 million cubic meters of gas, and we intend to increase this share, as well as the number of gas consumers in Kyrgyzstan,” Miller said.
In September 2011, Gazprom and the government of the Kyrgyz Republic signed a protocol to boost cooperation in the oil and gas sector. In July 2013, the Kyrgyz government and the Russian Federation government entered into the Cooperation Agreement in the spheres of natural gas transmission, distribution and sales in Kyrgyzstan. Under the agreement, Gazprom purchases a 100% stake in Kyrgyzgaz. In December 2013, the Parliament and the President of Kyrgyzstan ratified the agreement.
The Gazprom head also promised that the personnel of Kyrgyzgaz that will be employed by the new company will be entitled to all the social benefits enjoyed by Gazprom employees.
Despite the fact that Gazprom has bought 100% of Kyrgyzgaz shares for $1, the Russian company has assumed all the debt liabilities of the company that today reach some $40 billion.