Kazakhstan's Energy and Minerals Minister Vladimir Shkolnik said this on Tuesday after a closed conference of KTK shareholders.
"Agreement has been reached between all the shareholders, governmental and private companies that the consortium has to be expanded", he said.
Expansion can begin in the second half of 2005, he said. "We have to do it in the shortest possible time", Mr. Shkolnik said.
Agreement has also been reached to increase the tariff for the pumping of oil by 2.5 dollars/tonne. "The maximal tariff will now be 29.5 dollars per tonne", he said.
At the Astana conference, shareholders have worked out a single approach to tariff formation and agreed upon the basic principles of expansion, Mr. Shkolnik said.
"In the beginning of April we will gather in Moscow to finally prepare the memorandum of mutual understanding and principles of expansion of the KTK", he said.
The Caspian Pipeline Consortium was set up in 1992 by the governments of Kazakhstan, Oman and Russia for the construction and use of the 1,580-kilometer-long export oil pipeline from the Tenghiz field in Kazakhstan to the Novorossiisk port on the Black Sea.
Russia has 24 percent, Kazakhstan 19 and Oman 7 percent of participation in the consortium. The remaining 50 percent will be shared between the United States' Chevron (15 percent), Mobil Oil (7.5 percent) and Oryx (1.75 percent), as well as the Russian-American joint venture LUKArco (12.5 percent) and Russian-British Rosneft-Shell Caspian Ventures (7.5 percent), British Gas (2 percent), Italian Agip (2 percent) and Kazakhstan Pipeline (1.75 percent).
The pipeline's maximal throughput capacity will be 67 million tonnes of oil annually.