October 7, 2008

Kazakhstan Has Not Discussed Volumes of Its Oil That Could Be Pumped Via Espo Pipe – Minister

ALMATY. Oct 7 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan has not discussed the amount of its oil that could be pumped through the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline.

"This is a theoretical possibility. We did not discuss specific amounts of oil," Kazakh Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sauat Mynbayev said at the KIOGE conference in Almaty on Tuesday.

It was reported earlier that Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said that Kazakh national oil transportation company KazTransOil is "very seriously studying the possibility" of having some of its oil exported through the ESPO pipeline.

ESPO is intended to transport Russian oil to the Pacific coast in order to be forwarded to Asia-Pacific Region countries. The pipeline's 1,100-kilometer section that Russian state pipeline operator Transneft (RTS: TRNF) launched in the Russian region of Yakutia on Saturday is so far being used for carrying oil in the reverse direction.

KazTransOil representatives were present at the launch ceremony, which "is a very good signal that the implementation of large-scale projects such as ESPO attracts partners," Shmatko told reporters.

KazTransOil is a subsidiary of KazMunayGaz operating the major part of Kazakhstan's pipelines.

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