Kazakhstan not ready to join EU-backed gas pipelines


(SRI) - Kazakhstan currently does not have sufficient gas capacity to join the proposed Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Kazakhstan's Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev said on Thursday, the Kazakhstan-Novosti news agency reported.


"Right now we don't yet have those kinds of resources [to take part in the project]," Mynbayev said during KIOGE, an oil and gas conference in Almaty.

The European Union (EU) has reportedly invited Kazakhstan to participate in the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project earlier this week. Last month, the EU agreed to begin talks to secure a pipeline deal with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan connecting the two countries via a submarine pipeline and enabling the Caspian region's huge natural gas reserves to flow directly to Europe.


Russia and Iran, two other littoral Caspian countries, have opposed the plan for a gas pipeline across the Caspian Sea, citing environmental and legal concerns.


In a later KIOGE session, Deputy Oil and Gas Minister Lyazzat Kiinov reiterated that Kazakhstan currently does not have spare capacity to provide gas for the planned Nabucco pipeline linking Azerbaijan, Turkey and Austria but would consider doing so in future if new gas fields are developed.

"In the future, Kazakhstan will consider joining Nabucco as a potential gas supplier if new high-potential gas fields are developed domestically and free gas volumes emerge," Kiinov said.