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Kazakhstan sees Russia as partner on energy market

Kazakhstan sees Russia as a partner on the hydrocarbon market rather than a competitor, the leader of the oil-rich Central Asian republic said Thursday.

In an interview with RIA Novosti exports its hydrocarbons to foreign markets using Russian pipelines, and the two countries cooperate in refining. , Nursultan Nazarbayev said: „Cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the oil and gas sphere is of a strategic nature, and mutual commitments are wide-ranging and long-term.” KazakhstanBoth are core shareholders in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, operating a 1,580-kilometer (1,000-mile) pipeline between western Kazakh oilfields and Russia's Black Sea coast. In May, Nazarbayev and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to increase the pipeline's annual capacity from 24 million metric tons to 40 million tons.

Speaking of exports to China, Nazarbayev said the appetite of the fast-growing Chinese economy for energy resources is large enough so as to render competition between Kazakhstan and Russia unnecessary. He said Kazakhstan's 600-mile Atasu-Alahsankou pipeline, built in 2005 for deliveries to China, is intended to pump oil from Russian deposits in Western Siberia as well as Kazakh crude. The Kazakh leader told RIA Novosti his country is set to boost cooperation with Russia in natural gas shipments.

In May of this year, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan agreed to build a Caspian gas pipeline for the transit of Central Asian gas into Europe via Russia. The agreement is to be formalized by September 1, 2007. Nazarbayev also spoke in favor of boosting regional cooperation with Russia and other post-Soviet nations in security, migration control, trans-border crime, and transport through CIS and broader-based Eurasian alliances such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. (