Today's Zaman - Kazakhstan will supply oil to a pipeline transporting Caspian crude oil to Western markets through Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev said yesterday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gül in Astana, Nazarbayev said the transfer of oil to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline -- which currently brings in crude oil from Azerbaijan's Caspian fields to Turkey's Ceyhan port via Georgia -- will begin when Kazakhstan completes building ports on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
"Then, Kazakh oil will be transported to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline via tankers," he was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "We know that Azeri oil alone will not be enough to fill the pipeline. It will remain idle if no Kazakh oil is pumped in."
The Kazakh president did not say how much oil his country is committed to transport through the BTC pipeline. Kazakhstan has reiterated that most of its oil exports will go through Russia, although it says this does not mean there will be no oil left to transport through the BTC. Critics say the BTC pipeline, launched in 2005, would lose its economic profitability if it is not supplied with oil from Kazakhstan.
PRESIDENT GUL CONFIRMED
The pipeline currently transports oil from the Caucasus region, President Gul said, and added that Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan were in consensus that Kazakh oil should also be pumped in. "Once the ports in the Caspian Sea are completed, Kazakh oil too will flow through the BTC," he said.
Turkey was the first country to recognize Kazakhstan's independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the interest shown by the Turks has been robust and active over the past 16 years. Kazakhstan is an important economic partner of Turkey, and cooperation between the Turkish and Kazakh authorities has played a major role in the development of Kazakhstan.