US awards grant to Kazakhstan for pipeline study

Jun 11, 2001 02:00 AM

The United States has awarded Kazakhstan a $ 346,000 grant to examine ways of exporting the former Soviet state's crude oil via a US-backed pipeline to Turkey. The grant, amounting to 407,000 euros, is for "the study of technical, economic, ecological aspects connected to the transportation of Kazakh oil to the Baku Ceyhan (pipeline route)," KazTransOil vice president Kairgeldy Kabyldin said.

The grant, from the US Trade and Development Agency, will fund research into port facilities, port upgrades and requirements for barges to transport oil across the Caspian Sea, but will not be concerned with the laying of pipelines on the sea bed. "I'm pleased we are moving ahead with realising the Aktau part of Aktau-Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan," project, said the new United States special advisor on Caspian energy issues, Stephen Mann, during a visit to the region.
"At every stop on this trip I am seeing the type of cooperation between countries and companies that is going to make these projects a success. The pipelines have momentum and the pipelines will be built," he said. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in March he wanted to see oil being produced quickly from the Kashagan offshore field in the west, to make use of the US-backed pipeline which is expected to cost $ 2.8 bn.
Kabyldin said preliminary estimates had suggested that Kazakhstan could ship up to 20 mm tpy of oil to link up with the 1,700 km (1,060-mile) route from Azerbaijan to Turkey. "A final decision of Kazakh participation in this project will be taken after a study of all technical and economic data and issues of this project," Kabyldin added.

The Baku-Ceyhan route has been seen as being motivated more by political considerations than by commercial viability. The United States is pushing for east-to-west transportation routes that bypass both Russia and Iran. But the link has gained increasing momentum and a BP-led sponsor group said in May that it was moving into the next major stage of the project -- to conduct a $ 150-mm detailed engineering study of the route.

Source: AFP via Energy24
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