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Kazakhstan mulls gas exports to global markets via Azerbaijan

ASTANA, February 27 (RIA Novosti) - Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan discussed Tuesday the possibility of exporting Kazakh gas through Azerbaijan's pipelines to international markets, the Azeri foreign minister said Tuesday.

"There was a discussion of gas deliveries. As is known, Azerbaijan will launch the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline [to connect Turkey to the South Caucasus country's Shah Deniz gas field] this year. The Kazakh side has expressed interest in this pipeline," Elmar Memedyarov said following a meeting with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Memedyarov said the project has to be seriously studied by experts in terms of tariffs, customs duties and technical parameters.

Kazakhstan pays close attention to oil and gas transportation to international markets, as the energy-rich Central Asian republic is expected to boost gas output to 40-50 billion cubic meters a year by 2010-2015, from 27 billion cubic meters in 2006.

Hugues Mingarelli, director of the European Commission directorate for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, earlier said the European Union intends to support the construction of a new pipeline from Central Asia to Europe in an effort to diversify energy sources and transport routes.

At the same time, Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said a new trans-Caspian pipeline could be built only after the littoral states defined the status of the Caspian Sea.

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