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KAZAKHSTAN JOINS BTC PIPELINE AGREEMENT IN SEPTEMBER

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BAKU, April 18 (RIA Novosti's Gerai Dadashev) - The agreement on Kazakhstan's connection to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) major export pipeline will be signed before September 2005, Kairgeldy Kabyldin, managing director of the Kazmunaigaz Closed-end Joint-Stock Company, told journalists Monday in Baku.

Two-day negotiations between Azerbaijan's State Oil Company and Kazmunaigas, aimed at drafting the intergovernmental agreement on Kazakhstan's joining the BTC, are now under way in Baku.

According to Kabyldin, there are no disputes between the parties and they are working on the agreement. Its significance, he said, is related to the fact that the participants of the project on the development of the Kazakh Kashagan oilfield regard the BTC as their main export route.

For the management of the Aktau-Baku system a separate company will be established, having Italy's ENI, France's Total, US ConocoPhillips and Japan's Inpex as principal investors. Together these companies own 49.8 per cent of the Kashagan venture and 15 per cent of BTC Co, carrying out the BTC pipeline project.

The creation of the Aktau-Baku system involves the construction of a new storage and transfer oil terminal in Kuryk (a port 76 km to the south-east of Aktau) and the connecting pipelines. The system's transfer capacity will amount to 20 million tons of oil annually (initially - 7.5 million tons). The total sum of investments will be defined after the signing of the intergovernmental agreement.

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