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Kazakhstan says may sell Georgian gas asset

  Kazakhstan, one of the biggest foreign investors in Georgia, may consider selling its gas distribution business in the Caucasus nation, the state energy company said on Tuesday.

 

Kazakhstan sees Georgia as a key oil supply route to Europe but it has announced a number of investment changes there since a five-day war between Russia and Georgia in August. KazMunaiGas head Kairgeldy Kabyldin said his company may look to sell KazTransGas-Tbilisi, which sells gas in Georgia, but cited only financial reasons. „It may be sold, just like in any other business,” he told reporters. He said his company’s investment in the distribution system had yet to become profitable.

Kabyldin, however, ruled out the possibility of selling another Kazakh asset in Georgia -- the oil terminal in the Black Sea port of Batumi, describing it as strategic. “This corridor will be used for oil exports that will not be pumped through CPC (Caspian Pipeline Consortium) and for oil volumes produced at the Kashagan oilfield,” he said, referring to Kazakhstan’s huge Caspian deposit.

Last month Kazakhstan said it had dropped a project to build a grain terminal in the Georgian port of Poti citing political instability but this week announced it would proceed with its construction after all but in a different Black Sea port.

Also in September, it said it had ditched plans to build a $1 billion oil refinery in Georgia. Kazakhstan, which has good ties with both Russia and the West, has tentatively supported Moscow’s actions in Georgia but stopped short of following Russia’s suit in recognising independence of Georgia’s Moscow-backed rebel regions. (Reuters)