Poland and Kazakhstan set up a committee to find ways to ship Caspian oil to western Europe via a pipeline in Ukraine, reviving the original plan for the line five years after it was built.
Ukraine completed the pipeline from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Brody, where it joins Russia's east-west Druzhba (Friendship) line near the Polish border, in 2002. It stood empty for two years until Russian oil companies began using it to ship crude in the other direction, for export through Odessa. So far, political support from Poland, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and offers of financial backing from the European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development haven't been enough to get the line extended to Polish refineries or the Baltic Sea, allowing it to return to its planned use. „Taking into account the congestion of the Turkish straits,” through which oil is exported from the Black Sea, Kazakhstan „is studying possible routes for pipelines bypassing” the route, Zhaksybek Kulekeyev, first vice president of KazMunaiGaz, Kazakhstan's state-run oil company, said in an interview February 20. The committee will include representatives of KazMunaiGaz and PKN Orlen SA, Poland's largest oil company, Kazakhstan's Energy Ministry said yesterday. András Zékány, an analyst with ING Wholesale Banking in London, said he's skeptical about the prospects for a breakthrough. „We will definitely see more talk than action, at least in the mid-term,” Zékány said. „I don't see any short-term effect on PKN's stock price.” (Bloomberg)