Trends exclusive interview with Ambassador Reshid Uman, the head of the Department for Russia, South Caucasus and Central Asia (as well as Belorus, Ukraine and Moldova) of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Question: Addressing the official opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) the Turkish Prime Minister Rejep Tayyub Erdogan reminded of new oil pipeline Samsun-Ceyhan. Could you inform us profoundly about the project?
Answer: At present the implementation of the project is in the initial stage. Two companies - Italys ENI and Turkeys Calik - have been issued with a license for construction of oil pipeline. Turkey invites all countries, which can deliver oil to the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline, and Russia and Kazakhstan rank as the first among them. We expect that the two countries will deliver their oil via the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline, which will enable to essentially unload the Bosporus straight.
Question: Is there a preliminary agreement with Russia and Kazakhstan?
Answer: The proposal was sounded during the last visit of the Azerbaijani President to Russia. A feasibility study of the project has been submitted to the Russian Foreign Minister in Turkey in June. The point is that there already exists Burgas-Aleksandupolis pipeline. Russia should study and promote the most profitable of these two projects. Kazakhstan has been informed of this projects.
Question: If there is a feasibility study, it means the cost of the project is known?
Answer: The cost of the project is approximately $1.5-2bn.
Question: Will the delay in Kashagan field development and first oil production for the fulfillment of the BTC affect on other projects?
Answer: In the initial stage Kazakhstan can deliver 7-8 million tons of oil via the BTC with further increase up to 20 million tons by the period when bulk oil runs from Kashagan. BTC is a profitable project and Kazakhstans joining to it makes it more profitable.
Moreover, it has of strategic importance not only for us, but also for Kazakhstan. It has actually obtained the third variant after Russia and China, which Kazakhstan can use for oil transportation. Of course, it is very good when there are three variants.
What are the perspectives of construction of the Aktau-Baku pipeline?
Answer: As you know, in the initial stage oil will run from Aktau to Baku by tankers. The Aktau-Baku project is directed at future and we think more probably it will be possible to lay a pipeline via the Caspian Sea bottom to pump oil to the South Caucasus. But we know that the issue on the Caspian legal status is still to be defined. Nevertheless, we still believe that the resolution of the problem will easy the activities of the companies which will construct the pipeline.
Question: Is the Kazakh Foreign Minister expected to visit Turkey. What questions are expected to be on focus of discussions?
Answer: It will come as a reply visit of Kasimjomart Tokayev to the previous visit of the Turkish Foreign Minister to Kazakhstan. There is nothing concrete. At the same time the chairman of the Turkish parliament to Kazakhstan is also on schedule and the terms are still to be defined. It is planned to sign protocols on cooperation in the interparliamentary activities and there are grounds for cooperation. No considerable document will be signed during the visit.
Moreover, a summit of leaders of Turkic speaking nations will be held in Antalia, Turkey, on 17 November.