Kazakhstan shies away from Nabucco

June 26, 2009 at 8:31 AM

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, June 26 (UPI) -- Kazakhstan does not have the natural resources available to participate in the Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe, energy officials in Astana say.

Aset Magauov, the deputy energy minister, said Astana had commitments to other projects, noting those pledges made participating in Nabucco speculative, the Kazakhstan Today news agency reports.

"We have begun two large-scale projects. We intend to export 10 billion cubic meters of gas in the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline," he said. "The second project is with China. Therefore, we will think about this issue, in the immediate prospects, in regards to the available resources of Kazakhstan gas."

Europe sees the 2,050-mile Nabucco gas pipeline as the answer to its energy diversification efforts. The $10.7 billion project would bring gas supplies from Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe without using Russian resources or its territory.

In May, the Czech Republic hosted a regional summit in Prague on the so-called Southern Corridor, a network of energy transit routes that includes the heralded Nabucco gas pipeline.

Turkey would host a major portion of the pipeline. The Prague summit secured pledges of support from supplier nations, including Azerbaijan, but other Caspian nations failed to sign on to a final declaration for the pipeline.

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