Kazakhstan wants to sell gas directly to European customers

Mar 06, 2002 01:00 AM

Daniyar Berlibayev, the head of Kazakhstan's state gas pipeline operator Kaztransgaz, told that Astana hoped eventually to export gas to Western Europe. The goal, he said, is to sell Kazakhstani gas to European customers directly. The ongoing liberalization of European gas markets may make it easier to achieve this, he said.
He was speaking several days after the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IAOGP) suggested that European consumers start using Kazakhstani gas to make up for the depletion of gas fields within Europe.

Kazakhstan, for its part, is not looking solely to the European gas market. According to Berlibayev, Kazakhstan is also interested in handling more gas transit shipments from Turkmenistan. As Russia buys more natural gas from Turkmenistan, he said, both parties will have to deal with officials in Astana since Central Asia-Centre, the main gas pipeline in the region, passes through Kazakhstan on its way from Turkmenistan to Russia.
This pipeline is currently capable of handling 50 bn cmpy of gas, and Berlibayev said it would be able to carry 80 bn cmpy by 2010, following completion of an upgrade. Kazakhstan spent $ 170 mm last year to modernize the Central Asia-Centre pipeline and will spend another $ 500 mm by 2005. At present, the country sells small quantities of gas to neighbouring former Soviet republics but is not a major gas exporter to non-CIS markets.

Kaztransgaz has set up a joint marketing venture with Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, to sell gas in the former USSR, Berlibayev said. So far, he said, the joint venture has dealt only in small quantities.

Source: NewsBase
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