Russia, Kazakhstan moot Caspian hydrocarbon fields - Maria Zakharova (Exclusive interview)

Kazakhstan Materials 19 October 2023 10:10 (UTC +04:00)
Russia, Kazakhstan moot Caspian hydrocarbon fields - Maria Zakharova (Exclusive interview)
Ali Gasimov
Ali Gasimov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, October 19. Russia and Kazakhstan will jointly develop hydrocarbon deposits, including on the shelf of the Kazakh part of the Caspian Sea, official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova told Trend in an exclusive interview.

Prospects for the development of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan

In the new geopolitical realities, Kazakhstan continues to remain one of Russia’s most important trading partners. The volume of bilateral trade turnover is constantly growing; in 2022, it amounted to about 2 trillion rubles; in 2023, from January through July, it was almost 1.5 trillion rubles. The potential for the development of trade and economic relations remains colossal.

Given the historically close ties between Russia and Kazakhstan, the longest border in the world, and the interconnected nature of cooperation, the Russian Federation sees broad prospects for deepening trade and economic cooperation.

Cooperation in the energy sector

Russia is one of the largest exporters of energy resources and makes a significant contribution to ensuring both global and regional energy security. We have established constructive relations with our closest neighbors and allies in Central Asia, including the Republic of Kazakhstan. In particular, the issue of gas supply in its northern and eastern regions remains relevant for this country.

Taking into account the strategic partnership with Astana, it would be logical for us to seek the help of our Kazakh friends in solving this problem. In order to ensure access to the necessary energy sources, various options for restructuring the corresponding gas transmission system are being considered.

Other formats of coordinated work with Kazakh partners are also being discussed. In general, we proceed from the fact that in the future, the needs for energy resources in Asia will only increase, and other interested countries may join our cooperation.

Through the joint efforts of the two countries, the uranium and mining industries are developing, and projects in the field of the nuclear fuel cycle and in general in the field of peaceful nuclear are being successfully implemented.

As is known, the leadership of Kazakhstan is considering the issue of building a nuclear power plant on the territory of the republic. The implementation of such an initiative will ensure the production of clean electricity, solve the problem of its shortage, satisfy the demand of the population, and, in addition, give a powerful impetus to the socio-economic development of the region and the country.

The most important international project involving the two countries is the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, most of which is supplied by Kazakhstan, which uses this route to transport a significant volume of its "black gold" exports.

There are a number of specialized economic agreements between leading Russian economic operators in the fuel and energy sector - PJSC Gazprom, LUKOIL, Tatneft, and others - with counterparties from Kazakhstan regarding the development of hydrocarbon fields, including on the shelf of the Kazakh part of the Caspian Sea, the construction of joint energy processing enterprises, etc.

Cooperation in the field of the green economy

Good prospects for intensifying cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan are seen in the green energy direction. Our states have much in common in their approaches to economic decarbonization and the energy transition.

Both Russia and Kazakhstan expect to reach zero levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, emphasizing the tasks of modernizing the energy and industrial infrastructure, increasing the use of alternative and renewable energy sources, and, in the transition period, natural gas.

In this regard, we could talk about joint projects in the fields of nuclear, renewable, and hydrogen energy, the gas industry, and the development of forestry and water management complexes. The relevant departments of the two countries are working on specific areas of interaction.

The two countries have established constructive cooperation in the field of environmental protection. In 2021, the regular meeting of the annual Forum of Interregional Cooperation, with the participation of heads of state, was entirely devoted to this actual topic.

Russia's cooperation with Kazakhstan envisages the implementation of relevant regional initiatives, including saving the Aral Sea, water use on the Ural and Irtysh rivers, strengthening climate resilience, and restoring biodiversity.

Transport corridors, including the North-South and Trans-Caspian International Transport Route

In terms of transport issues, the focus is on the prospects for the development of successfully functioning international trade routes, such as the North-South, which include the systematic construction of highways. Due to the multiplicity of the corresponding infrastructure, this process has a positive impact simultaneously on the economic, social, and environmental aspects of both individual regions and our states as a whole. In the future, North-South will be able to provide transit for up to 30 million tons of cargo annually.

As for third-party projects, such as, for example, the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the Russian position is clear: each country has the right to independently decide which project to join based on its own interests.

Potentially new prospects for cooperation

Russia and Kazakhstan are united by closely intertwined business and economic ties and industrial and scientific-technical cooperation.

In the medium term, joint plans include the implementation of a number of large-scale projects in the automotive, aviation, light, chemical, petrochemical, and metallurgical industries.