EU prefers multiple routing for Central Asia

Dec 24, 1998 01:00 AM

30-1098 European Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis cautioned against limiting oil supply routes from Central Asia.
"From the political and strategic point of view, it is much better to have more than one route and not to exclude Russia.
Diversification of energy supplies is one of our principle objectives in achieving security of supply," Papoutsis said, reacting to news that Turkey and four neighbouring states had signed a declaration of support for the Supsa-Ceyhan pipeline.

The BP/Amoco -led Azerbaijan International Operating Consortium (AIOC) and senior U.S. representatives agreed recently that the trans-Turkish line was not yet commercially viable.
A series of disappointing exploration wells this year coupled with stubbornly low oil prices over the past year have led to a downgrade of near-term estimates of export volumes and proven reserves from the Caspian.
The proposed 1,730 km pipeline from Baku to Turkey's Ceyhan would need to see oil production double to around 2 million bpd to make it commercially viable, the industry said.
The U.S. government is backing a Baku-Ceyhan line as it would add to northern export routes for Caspian oil already being developed through Russia and Georgia and avoid Iran.
But there have been strong signs that AIOC will back an expanded line through Georgia.
Turkey says this will cause an unacceptable increase in tanker traffic through the Bosphorus Straits.

Source: not available
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