*CNPC, LG, others win $9.7 bln of contracts
*To build plants at South Iolotan field, country's largest
(Adds background, detail)
By Marat Gurt
ASHGABAT, Dec 29 Firms from China, South Korea
and the United Arab Emirates have won $9.7 billion worth of
contracts to develop Turkmenistan's largest natural gas
deposit, government sources in the Central Asian state said on
The decision marks the latest move by Turkmenistan, holder
of the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, to
diversify its energy industry away from Russia, its Soviet-era
master and traditionally the main buyer of Turkmen gas.
The international pool of companies will drill and build
gas plants at the South Iolotan deposit, which is ranked
potentially as one of the biggest five natural gas deposits in
Chinese state oil and gas firm CNPC, South Korea's LG
International Corp (001120.KS) and Hyundai Engineering Co
(000720.KS) and the UAE's Petrofac Emirates (PFC.L) won the
tender, a government source told Reuters on Tuesday.
Turkmenistan expects the South Iolotan deposit to produce
around 30 billion cubic metres of gas a year, a second
government official said.
"CNPC is obliged to produce up to 10 billion cubic metres
(bcm) of gas a year and will get 3.13 bcm for itself," the
second source said.
The Chinese investment follows the opening of a new
1,833-km (1,139-mile) pipeline this month to connect natural
gas deposits in Turkmenistan and its Central Asian neighbours
with China. Chinese leader Hu Jintao attended the opening.
Petrofac Emirates, a joint venture based in Abu Dhabi, won
$3.98 billion worth of contracts, the second source said,
A consortium of LG International and Hyundai Engineering
said earlier on Tuesday it had won a $1.48 billion order to
build a gas plant at South Iolotan by the third quarter of
South Iolotan contains between 4 trillion and 14 trillion
cubic metres of gas, Britain's Gaffney, Cline and Associates
said last year.
(Writing by Dmitry Sergeyev and Robin Paxton; Editing by
John Stonestreet and Richard Chang)