The oil deposits in the seabed are one of the reasons why Uzbekistan is not interested in sea restoration. Uzbekistan's government and a consortium of investors signed a 40-year Production Sharing Agreement in August 2006. The Consortium includes the Russian LUKOIL Overseas Holding, a Malaysian Petronas Carigali Overseas, Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), CNPC International from China, and Uzbekneftegaz. Currently, Uzbekneftegaz, LUKOIL Overseas and CNPC remain in the Consortium. They have already invested USD $110.2 million into oil exploration in the Aral Sea. They discovered several deposits. They plan to invest another USD $30 million in the project by the close of 2017.
Kazakhstan also carried out in exploration in the Aral Sea
. From 1999 to 2002, Kazakh and Japanese experts held a seismic and gravity surveys via a Japanese Government grant of USD $50 million. The held another survey in 2005-2006, but results showed "hydrocarbon indicators were not detected in the drilled pit."