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Kazakhstan confirms plans to join BTC project
[January 11, 2006]

Kazakhstan confirms plans to join BTC project

(Interfax News Agency Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)ASTANA. Jan 10 (Interfax) - Kazakh Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov confirmed Kazakhstan's plans to join the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project at a meeting with Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade in Astana on Tuesday.

"The sides exchanged opinions on the prospects for Kazakhstan to join the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project. Akhmetov confirmed Kazakhstan's plans to become a participant," the Kazakh prime minister's press service said in a statement.

"All the technical issues are already practically resolved, and in the near future Kazakhstan will be ready to sign the corresponding agreement," the press release quoted Akhmetov as saying.

During the meeting the sides also discussed expanding and strengthening trade and economic ties in various areas of bilateral cooperation, including in oil and gas engineering, petrochemicals and transport. In addition, the sides discussed prospects for food trade and developing air travel between the countries.

Talks between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) and the Kazakh company KazMunaiGaz for Kazakhstan to join the project began in November 2002. An intergovernmental agreement between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to transport Kazakh oil through the pipeline involves setting up the Aktau-Baku system to supply Kazakh crude in tankers through the Caspian Sea, for transportation onwards through the pipeline.

At the initial stage transportation will amount to 7.5 million tonnes of Kazakh oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, to be subsequently increased to 20 million tonnes.

Kazakhstan is also considering the possibility of building a pipeline from Aktau, the administrative center of Mangistau region, through the Caspian Sea to Baku.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline stretches 1,767 kilometers (443 km through Azerbaijan, 248 km through Georgia and 1,076 km through Turkey) and will have a capacity of 50 million tonnes of oil per annum. Construction began on the pipeline in April 2003 and expenditure on its construction have amounted to $3.4 billion.

The BTC Co. shareholders are BP (30.1%), the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (25%), Unocal (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), ENI (5%), Itochu (3.4%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), Total (5%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%). rd

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