Kazakhstan ready to join Nabucco gas project, seeks more from EU

Kazakhstan's president said his country is ready to be a part of the Nabucco gas pipeline, but the European Union must do more to make its participation in the project possible.

Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev

"Kazakhstan has never been against Nabucco, the issue is that in Europe there is a lot of talk about Nabucco...but in practice little is being done," Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Sunday at a news conference in Astana after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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He said that for Kazakhstan to participate in the EU-backed pipeline project, seen as a rival to Russia's South Stream, there would need to be either a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to connect with Nabucco or at least a gas liquefaction plant on the coast.

"Nothing is being done on either issue except talk," Nazarbayev said.

The Kazakh president said that neighboring Turkmenistan, which has abundant gas reserves, has also said it could contribute to Nabucco, but it also needs these questions resolved.

"The European Union could work more actively on this," Nazarbayev said.

> Nabucco Pipeline Map
The Nabucco project is intended to transport natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Austria, bypassing Russia. It is designed to annually transport 31 billion cubic meters of gas, which would meet as much as 5 percent of EU demand in 2020.

Gazprom's South Stream project bypasses Ukraine, passing through Turkish waters and across Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. Both Russia and the EU deny that the planned pipelines would be rivals, but the bulk of the gas for each project would come from the same Caspian region countries.

Kazakhstan's Caspian shelf has an estimated 3.3 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, and the country's gas production is expected to grow to approximately 45 billion cubic meters in 2010.
RIA Novosti