New pipeline dreamed tup for Baltics

  • 2005-10-12
  • Staff and wire reports
RIGA - Latvian government officials have expressed keen interest in cooperating with neighboring countries in building a pipeline that would feed the region with oil from the Caspian Sea.

Economy Minister Krisjanis Karins told the Baltic News Service in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, that he could soon sit down with Ukrainian colleagues to discuss an oil pipeline for transporting crude from Azerbaijan to northern Europe via Ukraine and the Baltic states.

He said that if the Ukrainian government supported the idea, a meeting could be held in Riga to discuss possible implementation of the project. The minister said that top state officials in both Georgia and Azerbaijan had supported construction of such a pipeline.

Karins accompanied President Vaira Vike-Freiberga on her tour to the Caucasus.

The Latvian business delegation that also went on the trip met with representatives from BTC, a company servicing the Azerbaijani oil terminal Sangachal. The latter reportedly said they would consider shipping oil via Ukraine and the Baltic states to northern Europe.

Previously Karins said that this oil pipeline could go from the oil fields in the Caspian Sea and Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, then Georgia and by the Black Sea to Ukraine. From Ukraine the pipeline could go via Belarus to Latvia.

However, in order to bypass Russia, a new pipeline section of some 100 kilometers would have to be built in Belarus, which represents the most unstable part of the project due to the totalitarian, anti-Western regime in Minsk.

Karins said that the project was realistic.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Latvia Tofiq Zufugarov said that implementation of the project would depend on its feasibility. "Nobody would be willing to build a pipeline just for political considerations. It all should be based on economic grounds," he said.