Kazakhstan-China pipeline “will be operational this year”

THE Atasou-Alashankou pipeline, being constructed to transport Kazakh crude oil to China, is to be operational by December 2005, according to President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. The contractor is reported to have promised him that the pipeline will be ready by 16 December, the president said in a press conference following recent talks between Kazakhstan and China. He added that both countries had also looked at the possibility of constructing a gas pipeline between them.

Negotiations are under way between KazMunaiGas – Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company – and the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on the construction of such a gas pipeline to open the Chinese market to Kazakh natural gas suppliers. This market is looking at considerable growth: according to Chinese experts, the country’s requirements for gas supplies will grow beyond the 200 billion cubic metres by 2020, representing an annual growth of between 11 and 13%.

The Atasau-Alashankou pipeline is 988km long and is the second phase of the transportation project between Kazakhstan and China. The pipeline starts from the rail head at Atasau in the Karaganda region (Central Kazakhstan) and crosses the border at the Droujba-Alashankou rail terminal. The cost of the construction of this section of the pipeline is estimated at $700 million, for which private investment are put at $650 million. The pipeline will have an initial capacity of 10 million tons/yr of oil, expanding to 20 million tons/yr by 2008.

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