ASTANA, Kazakhstan, June 4 (UPI) -- The European Union values Kazakhstan as a strategic partner in the energy sector and stronger ties are expected, the European Commission president said.
Barroso said Kazakhstan is the largest trading partner with the 27 members of the European Union.
"Kazakhstan is also a strategic energy partner and has been a reliable supplier of oil to the EU over the past decade," he said. "The upcoming opening of the Kashagan oil field is a symbol of the mutual beneficial relations and investments that we have in this area."
Kazakhstan hosts the Kashagan oil field, one of the largest in the world, with as much as 16 billion barrels of estimated commercial reserves. The project should launch later this year.
The majority of the $40.3 billion in bilateral trade in 2012 was in the oil and natural gas sector. The International Energy Agency said oil exports from Kazakhstan should more than double by 2035.
Kazakhstan also has a goal of generating 4 percent of its electricity through wind power by 2020 and cut energy consumption by 10 percent of 2008 levels by 2015.
"The EU also has a sustainable growth strategy and there is a lot of potential for cooperation between Kazakhstan and Europe in renewable and energy efficiency areas," Barroso said.