13 May 2007 - 13:21
  • News Code: 104516

ALMATY -- The presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed Saturday to build a new pipeline along the Caspian Sea coast to transport Turkmen natural gas to Western markets, the Interfax reported.

The deal was contained in a joint declaration issued after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh and Turkmen counterparts, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, held talks in the Turkmen Caspian port of Turkmenbashi.

 

The declaration said the three former Soviet republics would start from the second half of 2008 to construct the landmark pipeline. The three countries will sign a treaty in September on this project.

 

In the declaration, the three presidents also announced an agreement with Uzbekistan to revamp the existing Soviet-era gas export pipeline linking Central Asia with Europe through Russia. The declaration was signed Wednesday by Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

 

Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko told reporters in Turkmenbashi that the new pipeline and the upgraded existing one will form the largest gas transportation system in Central Asia.

 

The system is expected to have an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters by 2010, which could then reach up to 30 billion cubic meters, he said.

 

Putin told reporters that implementing the joint declaration not only is of great significance to the economic development of Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, but also will have a vital impact on the European and world energy markets.

 

Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan has tried to diversify its oil and gas export routes and in this respect, economic interests, not politics, are the primary consideration.

 

Berdymukhamedov said that as time-tested loyal partners, Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan will all benefit politically, economically and financially from their expanded cooperation.

 

He said Turkmenistan will ensure timely and adequate natural gas supplies for the new Caspian Sea pipeline, but that does not mean Turkmenistan will not take part in the trans-Caspian Sea pipeline project proposed by the United States.

 

Meanwhile, he said Turkmenistan has sufficient natural gas resources to supply China, Iran and other markets.

 

PIN/Xinhua

News Code 104516

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