Kazakhstan seeks stronger energy role

Feb 07, 2008 01:00 AM

Kazakhstan wants to increase its weight further in its energy sector, having just ended a row with western oil firms. The country reinforced its increasingly assertive role in oil diplomacy in January when it doubled its stake in the huge Kashagan oil field and stripped Italy's ENI of its leading role in the world's biggest oil find in three decades.
Its actions have alarmed foreign investors, who see them as part of the growing global trend of resource nationalism.

In his annual state-of-the-nation address, President Nursultan Nazarbayev called on the state to play a more active role in energy matters.
“We are consistently strengthening state influence in the strategically important energy sphere,” he said. “You have all witnessed that we raised Kazakhstan's role in developing Kashagan. ... We will continue our work in that direction.”

“Whatever they say, we have our own path of development,” Nazarbayev said in his speech. “We are not behind anyone in terms of human rights or freedom. We will measure all our further steps by the stability of our nation.”
“The main element of the oil and gas sector is a stronger state role as an influential participant in the international energy market,” he said. “It is really important because it helps us enter global markets with value-added products,” Nazarbayev said.

Source: The Moscow Times
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