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Gazprom Gives TNK-BP More Pipeline Access

Gazprom, which runs the Russian gas pipe network, agreed to let the oil producer ship more of its gas production. Denis Grishkin

TNK-BP has won approval to boost gas shipments through state-run Gazprom's pipelines, opening up fields in northern Siberia, the oil company said Thursday.

"The access to the pipeline has been agreed, which will let us significantly boost production," said Alexander Shadrin, a spokesman for TNK-BP. He declined to provide figures on volumes TNK-BP will be allowed to move through the Gazprom-controlled pipeline network.

TNK-BP is a 50-50 joint venture between BP and a group of Russian billionaires.

TNK-BP's Rospan International gas division had been unable to increase output to a target of 15 billion cubic meters per year because of restrictions imposed by Gazprom.

The unit had requested an agreement to raise its allotted pipeline capacity to 9.9 bcm in 2016, from 3 bcm next year, according to a bond prospectus to investors in January.

This year, Rospan was granted capacity rights of 2.7 bcm per year, below the 3.2 bcm that the unit can produce, chief operating officer Bill Schrader said in February.

Gazprom granted pipeline access in volumes requested by Rospan for 2011 to 2016, the gas export monopoly said Thursday in an e-mailed response to questions, without elaborating.

TNK-BP needs to invest $5 billion in Rospan to reach an output target of 15 bcm per year, unit head Dmitry Orlov said, Interfax reported last year. Shadrin confirmed the figure Thursday.

TNK-BP on Thursday reduced its oil output forecast for the Siberian Uvat project by 5 percent because of delays.

The unit is targeting production of 3.8 million metric tons, or 76,000 barrels per day, this year from the region’s three producing fields, down from an earlier forecast of 4 million tons, the company said in a statement.

Second-half output from the region will surpass the 1.8 million tons produced in the first half of the year with additional oil from the Tyamkinskoye field, which was opened in April, the statement said.

The Uvat area, together with the far northern and East Siberian developments, form the core of TNK-BP’s new projects as it seeks to boost total output by as much as 3 percent annually in the next five years.

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