October 8, 2008

Russia Against Transcaspian Pipeline for Environmental Reasons – Official

Text of report by corporate-owned Russian news agency Interfax

Moscow, 8 October: Russia's decision on its involvement in the construction of the Nabucco gas pipeline will depend on the situation in the region, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov has told Interfax.

"The project is still on paper, and it is difficult to assess its viability. Russia's involvement in it will depend on economic conditions and stability in the region," he said in an interview with Interfax.

Speaking about the Transcaspian pipeline project, Denisov said that "decisions on all projects which are potentially dangerous to the Caspian environment should be thoroughly discussed by the Caspian Five [littoral states] and made by consensus".

"We are sceptical about any projects to build trunk pipelines on the bottom of the Caspian Sea, not because the international legal status of Caspian Sea is not clear, but because of environmental concerns," the diplomat said.

Denisov also advised against politicizing another regional pipeline, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan.

"We do not regard this oil pipeline as a rival to Russia. However, we believe that the situation surrounding it has been extremely politicized. Its reliability also largely depends on stability in the Caucasus," he said.

Moscow assumes that "the diversification of oil and gas transportation routes from Russia, Caspian region and Central Asian countries will make a substantial contribution to improving the security of hydrocarbon supplies to global markets," Denisov stressed.

"As we know, the Blue Stream pipeline, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium and the Baltic Pipeline System are already in operation. The Nord Stream and South Stream, and the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline projects, in whose construction Russia is involved, are being implemented," he said.

Originally published by Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0902 8 Oct 08.

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