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CNPC may buy stake in MMG

CHINA National Petroleum Corp is in talks with Kazakhstan's state energy company, KazMunaiGaz, on acquiring a 49 percent stake in the Central Asian country's fourth-largest oil producer MangistauMunaiGaz, a spokesman said yesterday.

MangistauMunaiGaz, which controls oil reserves estimated at about 500 million barrels, has also been eyed by other national energy companies in recent months.

"KMG and CNPC are currently negotiating CNPC's involvement in the purchase of MMG, and we are planning to sign some documents on that in the nearest future," Arzhan Takachakov, a spokesman for KazMunaiGaz, said by e-mail.

KazMunaiGaz secured its majority stake in MangistauMunaiGaz from the British Virgin Islands-registered Central Asia Petroleum in January.

MangistauMunaiGaz's holdings include 36 oil and gas fields, of which 15 are currently under development. The company also owns a 58 percent stake in a refinery in Kazakhstan's Pavlodar province.

In 2008, China imported 6 million tons of oil through the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline, a 26 percent increase on the previous year. Russia also uses the route, which is jointly managed by CNPC and KazMunaiGas, to transport its oil exports to China.

China hopes the completion of the third section of the pipeline by the end of this year will eventually see an increase in annual capacity to 20 million tons of oil by 2020.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev is scheduled to fly to China on Wednesday for a five-day visit.


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