British MPs support government's multi-pipeline policy in Caspian

Jul 29, 1999 02:00 AM

An all-party group of British MPs has expressed its full support for the British government's policy of favouring multi-pipelines for the export of oil from landlocked Central Asian states. Its recommendation referred to U.S. attempts to prevent Iran being used as a transit country by lobbying hard for American companies to build a main pipeline from Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, despite its high costs.
"The government should continue to use its best efforts to discourage the U.S. government from promoting particular pipeline routes, for purely political reasons to the detriment of other more economic routes," the foreign affairs committee said. In a report on British relations with countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asian, the MPs said the British government support for the most economical export route for Caspian oil and gas was backed by UK companies as well as the European Union.
The Select Committee report also quoted the executive director of British Gas, Frank Chapman, who said it was extremely helpful if UK firms were not required to "toe a political line on an issue such as Iran or Baku-Ceyhan." It would be "more helpful" if the government were "able to be there supporting clearly the argument which is essentially that commercial factors should determine these routes," he added in his evidence to the committee.
Terry Adams of Monument Oil and Gas said that a European presence was "probably essential" to "counteract some of the more strident policies of the U.S." adding that his company had the advantage of finding its swap deal with Iran $ 1.5 a barrel cheaper.

Source: IINX via Iinoil
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