The Kazakhstan government, concerned about runaway costs and repeated delays in the vast Kashagan oilfield, has increased its role in the Italian-led consortium charged with developing the most important oil reserves in the Caspian Sea Basin.
Under the terms of a newly amended North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA), the share in the Agip KCO consortium held by state-run KazMunaiGaz will more than double to 16.81%, equal to those of Italian company Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total. ConocoPhillips and INPEX retain 8.4% and 7.56% respectively.
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Turkey's stock markets, reflecting a stalling economy and doubts over International Monetary Fund loans in the run-up to polls next year, have intensified a year-long plunge, with a key benchmark tumbling more than 36% in barely 11 weeks. The ISE National 100 equities index has taken a 36.8% hit from its level at the end of August, the last time I reviewed the country's economic and financial situation (See Turkey has a rough road ahead, 28 August 2008). At just above the 25,000 level, it is now down 56.8% from its all-time high of mid-October 2007.
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Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and Kazakhstan's state monopoly KazMunaiGaz this month signed an agreement setting out the main principles for a transport system to convey Kazakhstani oil across the Caspian Sea for entry into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and subsequent re-export to world markets. This represents a step forward in the realization of the Kazakhstan-Caspian Transportation System (KCTS) that, while long discussed, has become Kazakhstan's response to Russia's unwillingness and/or inability to implement the long-promised doubling of the capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) line.
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