Medvedev to discuss pipelines in Azerbaijan: Media

Moscow wants to convince its former ally that oil exports headed northward into Russia are more attractive than via a new EU-backed plan which, if built, will ultimately link Central Asian producers to markets in Europe.

Medvedev to discuss pipelines in Azerbaijan: Media
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will discuss new oil transit pipelines in Azerbaijan on Thursday during an official visit, Russian news agencies quoted a Kremlin spokesman as saying.

Azerbaijan has helped to weaken Russia's grip on Caspian energy by switching its oil exports from a pipeline via Russia to a new link, built by a BP-led consortium and connecting it to the Mediterranean Sea.

Moscow wants to convince its former ally that oil exports headed northward into Russia are more attractive than via a new EU-backed plan which, if built, will ultimately link Central Asian producers to markets in Europe.

"The question of energy resource transport routes out of Azerbaijan traditionally comes up during bilateral negotiations," Medvedev's chief foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko told news agency ITAR-Tass.

"We have no secrets," Prikhodko told reporters. "We talk about how we see the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) project, and in Azerbaijan they say they would like to develop other routes," he said.

The BTC pipeline bypasses Russia and currently pumps 770,000 barrels of oil per day from BP's giant Azeri offshore project to the Turkish Mediterranean port via Georgia.

The BTC is owned in part by BP, SOCAR, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, StatoilHydro, ENI, Total and others and is seen as an alternative to the Baku-Novorossisk pipeline that takes Azeri oil to Russia.

In June, Chevron signed a deal with Kazakhstan to build a pipeline along the Caspian shore to feed oil from their Tengiz fields into the BTC pipeline.

Medvedev will meet with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev before flying on to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan ahead of next week's G8 summit in Japan.

Reuters
Last Mod: 03 Temmuz 2008, 12:40
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