Kazakhstan to respect Russia's view on trans-Caspian project

Apr 04, 2007 02:00 AM

Russia is Kazakhstan's main strategic partner and "we must respect its opinion in making decisions related to the trans-Caspian gas pipeline issue," Kazakhstan's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov told, commenting on the possibility of his country's participation in this gas pipeline project.
Izmukhambetov said the trans-Caspian pipeline project was of "interest" to Kazakhstan. "This is an advantageous position and the shortest route of access to the European markets," he said.

He said another factor that increased Kazakhstan's interest was that there were plans to double gas production in the country in the near future.
"Of course, one must not forget that we consider laying a pipeline to China, but the European route is also promising," the Kazakh official said.

He said the European Union, a major lobbyist of the trans-Caspian pipeline project, was evaluating the economic feasibility of laying such a gas pipeline from Central Asia to Europe.
"Only when it is finished, there will emerge the possibility of discussing this project in greater detail," Izmukhambetov said, adding that the issue of Kazakhstan taking part in the project had only just been raised.

European experts tentatively estimate the trans-Caspian pipeline project at $ 5 bn.
It is planned that the route will go to Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Source: Itar-Tass / BBC Monitoring Central Asia
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