"In my view, the project is overpoliticised. Economically speaking, it is problematic, being designed for a risky term", Kaluzhny said to reporters in Moscow on Wednesday.
In his opinion, if Kazakhstan joins in, the whole affair may prove "quite lucrative". If Kazakhstan prefers oil cooperation with China, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan project may be faced with big problems.
The project may also have problems if Russia "changes its transit policy with regard to Kazakh oil". "In this case, Kazakhstan will lose interest in the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline", said the deputy minister.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, intended for the transportation of Caspian oil from Azerbaijan to the world markets via the Turkish Mediterranean port Ceyhan, is 1,767 kilometers long.
Its annual throughput capacity is 50 million tonnes of oil. Building work began in April 2003 and will be over in the fourth quarter of 2004.
The export of Azeri oil from Ceyhan is slated for the second quarter of 2005.
The total cost of the project is 2.95 billion dollars. International credit institutions finance the bulk of the project. By now, 55 percent of building work has been completed.