Initiatives on legal framework for pipelines from Caspian to Europe
Eleven Central Asian republics and Romania initialled an accord around the development of oil and gas pipelines in
The accord was brokered by the European Union, which increasingly relies on oil and gas imports, mainly from Russia.
The deal commits countries through which planned pipelines pass to respecting the same legal framework and not
blocking sections of the projects running through their territory.
"One of the hardest tasks is to secure financing for the oil and gas networks of the future. No-one will invest if it is not absolutely clear who is managing," Gunter Burghardt, senior official at the EU's executive Commission, told.
Turkey's ambassador to the EU Mithat Balkan told Ankara was studying the accord and might be ready to sign it with the other states in several month's time.
But Russia's deputy energy minister Elena Teleguina said Moscow did not expect to sign the accord in the near future.
The EU is pushing for the development of several routes to bring Caspian oil and gas to the West to ensure security
of supply. But it insists any projects should be chosen for commercial not political reasons.
Burghardt said it was crucial to develop Black Sea outlets for Caspian oil independent of whether an international consortium of oil companies -- the Azerbaijan International Operating Consortium (AIOC) -- agreed to construct a 1,730 km pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
"Whatever the outcome of the main pipeline (Baku-Ceyhan), there will be a need for a Black Sea link because our neighbours in Ukraine and the Balkans will be among the largest consumers of energy," Burghardt said.
The AIOC, led by BP Amoco and Statoil, is due to recommend in the next few months its choice of a route.