Construction of oil pipeline via Iran not ruled out: Kazakh energy minister

Oil&Gas Materials 10 July 2009 12:48 (UTC +04:00)

Kazakhstan, Astana, July 10 / Trend , K.Konirova/

The idea to construct an oil pipeline via Iran has not been ruled out, the Kazakh Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Sauat Minbayev, told Trend correspondent in Astana.

"The idea to construct an oil pipeline via Iran has not been not ruled out, and neither have other routes either," Minbayev said, and reminded everyone that Kazakhstan pursues a policy to diversify hydrocarbon deliveries routes to world markets.

Earlier, Senior Research Fellow of the Russian-Eurasian Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Martha Olcott, said that the Central Asian countries should pay attention to the possibility of constructing oil pipelines via Iran, bypassing Russia.

"I have heard a lot of speeches by those making decisions in the U.S. and the EU about how to build alternative pipelines to Europe, not via Russia. But we have never heard that the possibility to include Iran in the process was being seriously considered. I have heard both U.S. politicians' speeches and they said that if pipelines passed through Iran, it would not serve Central Asia's interests. It is necessary for Central Asian officials to decide what meets their national interests, because they all have good relations with Iran," Olcott said in Astana three weeks ago.

However, in response to her recommendation, one of Kazakhstan's senior oil workers told Trend that Kazakhstan had examined the idea of constructing a route via Iran earlier as well.

"Earlier, we studied the possibility of constructing an oil pipeline via Iran without American experts' recommendations, because this is the most beneficial and shortest onshore entry for our oil to world markets," he said.

He noted that the oil pipeline from Kazakhstan would run through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and through Iran. "Iran has the perfect conditions for this pipeline. The country has good business conditions. All exaggerated concerns about Iran are nonsense," said the oil worker, responding to a question about the possible impact on projects caused by the unstable situation in the country.

Answering the question from Trend on whether all existing and future routes from Kazakhstan, including Iran, can compete with the pipeline to China, the Minister Minbayev said: "The Chinese oil pipeline is almost built and will be put into exploitation in October. It will transport only 20 million tons."

Furthermore, the Energy Minister does not exclude the possibility of transporting Tengiz oil to China via the pipeline. "If the price is good for China, why not?!" Everything depends on oil prices. It goes to places where there are good prices," Minbayev said.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]