PGNiG to cooperate with Petrolinvest, may link up

Nov 25. Reuters. WARSAW

* Petrolinvest says signed cooperation deal with PGNiG
* PGNiG says capital ties a future option
* To hold joint conference at 0830 GMT on Thursday
* Petrolinvest shares jump by over 13 pct, PGNiG edge down

PGNiG to cooperate with Petrolinvest, may link upPolish gas monopoly PGNiG PGNI.WA and oil venture Petrolinvest PROL.WA paved the way for a future link-up on Wednesday and agreed to cooperate on the latter’s drilling operations in Kazakhstan.

Petrolinvest, worth $217 million, said state-controlled PGNiG would buy its shares and gain operational control with the possibility of acquiring the venture’s key Kazakhstan assets.

PGNiG’s deputy chief executive said capital ties with the loss-making company were still a distant prospect.

“We have to examine the deposits on which Petrolinvest operates,” Miroslaw Szkaluba told Reuters.

“If Petrolinvest offers us interesting assets to examine, we’ll launch joint operations. If we offer money for joint operations and Petrolinvest has trouble adding to the pile, we want to have the possibility of acquiring assets.”

Petrolinvest, an oil venture forged by one of Poland’s richest men, Ryszard Krauze, made its debut on the Warsaw bourse in 2007 when equity markets were booming and promised to move rapidly to oil production, but has so far failed to deliver.

Shares in the venture jumped more than 13.0 percent on the news, coming back from a 31 percent decline since the start of the year. PGNiG hovered around Tuesday’s closing levels.

“This surely ensures Petrolinvest will continue its operations,” DI BRE analyst Kamil Kliszcz said. “Petrolinvest seems to be under greater pressure to sign the deal than PGNiG.”

“It’s hard to say what benefits it should yield for the two companies as we don’t know any details on price,” he added. “I think it should not negatively impact PGNiG.”

The two companies are to hold a joint news conference on Thursday.