The Republic of Tajikistan and Russia have long been friends and partners. Over the past three decades, Russia has granted its support to Tajikistan in political and economic life. For about 20 years, Gazprom has been a strategic partner and the major investor in the Republic's economy. According to Gazprom, one of its priorities is the energy security of the Republic, which is suffering power shortages. To this end, Gazprom has vested Gazprom EP International with the task of exploring the prospects in Tajikistan in order to discover and develop its hydrocarbon fields and provide for the energy needs of the country.
The Gazprom Group and the Republic of Tajikistan have been partners since 2003 when a 25-year Strategic Cooperation Agreement (until 2028) was inked at the top level. The Agreement laid the legal groundwork for their further cooperation. Gazprom zarubezhneftegaz (now Gazprom EP International) was made the Operator in the country. The Agreement stipulated cooperation in prospecting, exploration and development of the gas fields under a PSA, which included superdeep formations.
The document also regulated the involvement of the Russian Side: field infrastructure development, well workover and putting inactive wells into production; construction, reconstruction and operation of gas pipelines and other gas infrastructure facilities, provision of services; processing, transport and marketing of gas, and training of Tajik experts in Gazprom’s learning and development centers.
A representative office of Gazprom EP International has been open in Dushanbe since 2006.
In 2008, Gazprom and the government of Tajikistan inked an Exploration Term Sheet Agreement. That document became the cornerstone for bread-and-butter projects in the Republic.
Earlier (in 2006) Gazprom had obtained exploration licenses for two oil and gas prospects, Sargazon (70 km south-east of Dushanbe) and Rengan (20 km south of Dushanbe). However, the active phase in the region was commenced only in 2008, after the company obtained two more exploration licenses for the Sarykamysh (36 km south-west of the capital of Tajikistan) and the West Shokhambary (20 km west of Dushanbe) prospects.
2D and 3D field seismic surveys as well as gravity surveys were carried out at the Sargazon prospect. Data processing results indicated that while the prospect still theoretically had potential, further development was commercially unviable at the that stage. Thus, the subsoil use license for the Sargazon prospect was relinquished.
Gravity surveys were conducted at the Rengan prospect. The survey analysis indicated that the geological setting makes the development project economically unfeasible, at the present stage at least. As a result, it was decided not to renew the license for this prospect ending in 2011.
In 2009-2010, Gazprom International carried out a 3D seismic survey at the Sarykamysh field over the area of 125 square kilometers and gravity surveys over 175 square kilometers. Upon the integrated examination of survey results, the experts built a structural model of the field that defined the drilling point of the first exploratory well, Shakhrinav-1P. Well drilling commenced in December 2010, and was finished in June 2013. The well had a target depth of 6,300 meters, although during the construction phase this went as down as 6,450 meters to allow for a better study of the potentially prospective area. As of today, Shakhrinav-1P is the deepest well in the history of oil and gas drilling in Central Asia. Testing of the discovered prospects completed in the end of 2014.
In the course of pre-drilling activities, it turned out that the existing roads did not meet the requirements. They were not accessible for power units towing drilling equipment. A wide up-to-date road was built to provide supplies to the drilling point, and the work went on. Later it became clear that in addition the road played quite a dramatic role in the life of the local communities. Local girls finally got a chance to marry outside their villages. Hence the number of weddings skyrocketed.
Preliminary estimates indicate that there are 18 billion cubic meters of the forecast gas reserves in the Sarykamysh prospect, while expected oil reserves amounted to 17 million tones, and 2 billion cubic meters of solution gas. The overall investment in exploration at the license block amounted to around 6 billion rubles.
A total of eight oil and gas prospects were discovered during the drilling and integrated geological and geophysical operations. This was the first and only prospecting and appraisal well in Tajikistan to penetrate deep underthrust deposits. Until that moment, their oil and gas potential had been unknown. Drilling provided unique geological data, confirming the scientists’ forecast of deep underthrust deposits’ oil and gas prospects.
However, a commercially viable hydrocarbon inflow at Shakhrinav was not obtained and Gazprom’s Central Commission on Subsoil Resource Use and Licensing Management made a decision to give up the license for the Sarykamysh area.
The West Shokhambary field initially had an area of 50 square kilometers. However, while analyzing the geological and geophysical information, Gazprom International concluded that to identify and explore an oil and gas prospect in this area, it needed to have its boundaries extended up to 247 square kilometers. Thus, in October 2010, the company's representative office in Tajikistan submitted the relevant application to the Republic's government and obtained its approval. The area borders on the city of Dushanbe from the west. Upon completing the procedures necessary for updating the boundaries of the block, in September 2012 a decision was made to commence exploration in West Shokhambary. In 2014-2015, Gazprom International experts acquired and analyzed the geological and geophysical data on the area, subsequently developing a plan, as well as design and estimate documentation. Finally, the Central Commission on Subsoil Resource Use and Licensing Management decided to relinquish the license due to the insignificant amounts of hydrocarbon reserves.
Since 2008, a full-scale exploration of the license areas Rengan, Sargazon and Sarykamysh has been carried out in the Republic. Gazprom's overall investment in exploration exceeding 6.8 billion rubles.
In accordance with the 2008 Agreement, if geological exploration didn't bring the expected outcome for the investor, the incurred costs would not be reimbursed. Instead, the investor may request licenses for other prospective areas. Thus, Gazprom International is currently exploring the possibility of obtaining licenses for prospective oil-and-gas-bearing areas in the southwest and north of Tajikistan.
In the Soviet Era, commercial hydrocarbon deposits were discovered in most prospects and reserves evaluation was performed. In case of a positive decision on participation in these projects, the tasks of Gazprom International will include the preparation of a feasibility study, performance of a set of exploration and field studies, re-interpretation of historic data, assessment of the resource potential, well workover, additional exploration and development of the fields. The prospective area has a connection to the existing gas transport network of the Republic. A joint venture between Russia and Tajikistan is planned to be incorporated, or a Production Sharing Agreement to be signed, for the development of the fields in case of a commercial discovery.
In March 2019, the 16th meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation between the two countries co-chaired by Kohir Rasulzoda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan, and Anton Siluanov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation — Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation, was held in the Dushanbe official Residence of the Government of Tajikistan. The cross-functional groups previously formed by the Russian and Tajik sides, Gazprom and the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan were instructed to consider the possibility of cooperation between Gazprom EP International and the state-owned companies, Naftu Gas and Sughdnaftugaz, to prepare proposals and outline new projects in the Republic of Tajikistan. The sides were also recommended to speed up the approval process of the draft Investment Agreement “On the geological exploration of mineral resources in the oil and gas prospective areas of the Republic of Tajikistan and the development of identified hydrocarbon deposits between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, Gazprom and Gazprom EP International.”
The management of Gazprom EP International appreciates the trust and support provided by the Tajik leadership to Gazprom projects. The company is ready for further full-scale cooperation with the Republic in the energy sector.
The Republic of Tajikistan is located in the Pamira foothills and does not have access to the sea. It borders on Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to the north and west, China to the east, and Afghanistan to the south. The country's area is 143,1 thousand sq. km.
In 1924, Tajikistan became part of the USSR as an autonomous republic within the structure of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. The Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was formed on 16 October 1929, and on 5 December of the same year it joined the USSR with the rights of a union republic. Tajikistan gained independence in 1991 after the dissolution of the USSR. The political system of Tajikistan is determined by the constitution adopted on November 6, 1994. Tajikistan is a presidential republic.
Administratively, Tajikistan is divided into 3 regions, one of which is autonomous. As of mid-2019, the population of Tajikistan was over 9.2 million.
Tajikistan is an agro-industrial country with a bright hydropower outlook, substantial mineral deposits and great opportunities for tourism.
The country possesses considerable potential in the hydropower sector that has not yet been fully realized. The overall hydropower resources are estimated at 527 billion kilowatt-hours, including 202 billion kilowatt-hours that are technically feasible.
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