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    EU invites Kazakhstan to join Trans-Caspian Pipeline project

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    The European Union has invited Kazakhstan to take part in the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project, European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Tuesday.

    The European Union has invited Kazakhstan to take part in the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project, European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Tuesday.

    In September the EU Council approved the mandate given to the European Commission, to negotiate an agreement for the legal framework for a Trans-Caspian gas pipeline system with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The Trans-Caspian pipeline is supposed to connect the Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan shores of the Caspian Sea to export gas via Azerbaijan to Europe.

    The expected annual capacity of the Tengiz (Kazakhstan) Turkmenbashi (Turkmenistan) Baku (Azerbaijan) Tbilisi (Georgia) Erzurum (Turkey) route amounts to 20-30 billion cubic meters of gas. The cost of the project is estimated at 7.9 billion euros.

    "This pipeline will become a very important contribution to the development of the Southern Gas Corridor. Not many people know that this is the first time the has EU suggested signing an international contract aimed at supporting an infrastructure project. It shows how important the project and cooperation in the region are important for the EU and all its 27 member states. We will welcome corresponding participation of Kazakhstan in the Southern Corridor in the future," Oettinger said.

    "We think it is very important to create stable markets with good prices and the world's best consumers," the commissioner said.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said that any attempts from outside to interfere in Caspian's business affairs, or issues which are sensitive for the Caspian Five members, may complicate the situation in the region and have a negative impact on current negotiations on the new legal status of the Caspian Sea.

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