China, Kazakhstan to ink deals worth $30 billion on Saturday

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping walk past honor guards during an official welcoming ceremony in Astana September 7, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

ASTANA (Reuters) - Kazakhstan and China will sign 22 agreements on Saturday worth a total of around $30 billion (19.1 billion pounds), including several deals in the key oil and gas sector, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

“Among these (agreements) there are large-scale ones, including on cooperation in the oil and gas sector, which are essential for us,” Nazarbayev told a briefing after meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping.

“We have reached an agreement on building a new oil refinery (in Kazakhstan), which we need so much,” Nazarbayev said, without giving further detail.

Xi said the two sides had agreed on China’s shareholding in Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan offshore oil project. Kazakh officials told Reuters earlier on Saturday that the package of agreements would include one on the purchase of an 8.33 percent stake in Kashagan by China’s state oil firm CNPC for around $5 billion.

One of the draft agreements, obtained by Reuters, would guarantee loans from The China Development Bank and The Export-Import Bank of China - worth respectively $3 billion and $5 billion - to Kazakhstan’s state holding Baiterek, which is charged with promoting innovation and industrial projects.

Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Mike Collett-White