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Total, CNPC Join Tethys Petroleum in Tajikistan Exploration

Total SA and China National Petroleum Corp. agreed to join Tethys Petroleum Ltd., an explorer focusing on Central Asia, to search for oil and gas in Tajikistan. Tethys shares jumped.

Total and China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corp., a unit of CNPC, will each hold a third of the Bokhtar project, Tethys said today in a statement. The new partners will pay about $60 million to Tethys to refund about two-thirds of historical costs and will carry some of its future spending.

Tethys shares jumped 31 percent to 34.50 pence in London, the biggest gain since October 2011.

“The initial work program is expected to comprise of further seismic data acquisition followed by a deep exploration well,” Tethys said. The completion is subject to final Tajik governmental approval.

The Bokhtar license may hold an estimated 27.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources, according to a report from June 30, Tethys said. It first announced plans to bring in partners on Oct. 26.

The Bokhtar contract area covers 35,000 square kilometres (13,500 square miles) at the eastern end of the Amu Darya Basin, Total said in a separate statement. “A number of giant gas discoveries have already been made in the basin.”

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