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June 30, 2006
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ITERA Shares Beregovoe with Gazprom
Gazprom bought out 51 percent in Sibneftgaz, holder of license for Beregovoe field of gas condensate. The deal budget hasnt been officially disclosed, but the experts say it hardly exceeded $200 million. By acquiring the asset, Gazprom has established control over Russias last big independent producer of gas, ITERA.
The five-year struggle of ITERA for the market independence ended yesterday. Gazprombank Board Chairman Andrey Akimov and ITERA CEO Igor Makarov entered into a cooperation agreement to develop Beregovoe field of gas condensate. On the same day, Makarov sealed cooperation with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, stipulating additional provisions of Sibneftegaz disposal.

Under the first document, Gazprombank buys 51 percent in Sibneftegaz from ITERA to connect Beregovoe field to Gazproms Unified Gas Supply System (UGS) and attain the annual project development of 12 bcm in Beregovoe.

In Gazprombank, they say the stocks were used as a security instrument and the bank paid for them only the amount required to reach project capacity of Beregovoe.

Beregovoe is located in Purovo area of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region. The reserves are estimated at 319.2 bcm of gas, 4.9 mln tons of gas condensate and 7.5 mln tons of oil.

Gazprombank, Gazprom and ITERA refused to comment on the deal budget. According to the sources, Sibneftegaz owners estimated the market cost of their company at $1.5 billion to $2 billion. ITERA asked $300 million to $400 million for 51 percent in Sibneftegaz, i.e. half as much as the market price. But the monopoly halved even that price in the end. The discount is easy to explain. Without the access to UGS, Beregovoe has been idle for three years, causing hefty losses to the owners.

Gazprom needs no majority ownership in ITERA now, once the latter paid for the UGS access by the better part of its best asset - Beregovoe.

All the Article in Russian as of June 30, 2006

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