President Nazarbayev Confirms Kazakh Interest to Participate in Bourgas-Alexandroupolis Oil Pipeline Project

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has confirmed Kazakhstan's interest in participating in the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin told journalists on Tuesday after he was received by the President of Kazakhstan.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister added that the interest of Astana in the project was also confirmed by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan. Earlier in the day, Kalfin was received by Prime Minister Karim Masimov and took part in an international scientific conference "Islamic Civilization in Central Asia".

Kalfin added that any forms of Kazakh participation in the project are possible.

Obviously, inasmuch as Kazakhstan is a main supplier of oil, it will have interest in active - including in ownership - participation in the project, Kalfin said. In his words, its is to Bulgaria's interest that the pipeline operate at the maximum possible capacity. Kazakhstan will continue to increase oil exports and is obviously interested in its transportation.

The oil that would flow through the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is an extension of the Kazakh pipeline which now ends at the Black Sea port of Novorosiysk, Kalfin said.

The Bourgas-Vlore pipeline, which largely depends on the provision of quantities of oil and on the interest of exporter countries to supply oil to the Adriatic, was another project
discussed during the talks with the president of Kazakhstan, Kalfin said. In his words, the project would progress in the case of interest on the part of Kazakhstan and could be
developed in the future.

Kazakhstan is one of the countries that insist on the construction of the so-called Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister recalled. The Trans-Caspian Gas
Pipeline is a proposed submarine pipeline between Turkmenbasy in Turkmenistan, and Baku in Azerbaijan. By some proposals it will also include connection between Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan, and Turkmenbasy. The aim of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project
is the transportation of natural gas from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Central Europe.

Kalfin and Nazarbayev also dwelt on the South Stream gas pipeline project, in which Kazakhstan is also interested.

In addition, Kalfin said that Kazakhstan is making enormous investments in Poti Sea Port (on the Black Sea), which provides a direct link with Bulgaria. Kazakhstan is currently investing in infrastructure for the export of grain. kazakhstan's annual export of grain to countries from Africa and Southern Europe exceeds 8 million tonnes.

The Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister told journalists he was impressed by the "aggressive" investment policy of Kazakh business. He said that in the course of the talks with the
President O kazakhstan it had emerged that te country has a reserve exceeding 40,000 million dollars which is aimed at investment and the creation of conditions for the development of Kazakh business. Kazakhstan has already invested in large enterprises operating with non-ferrous metals in Germany and Romania.

Finally, Kalfin said he had conveyed on behalf of President Georgi Purvanov an invitation to Nazarbayev to visit Bulgaria.

Speaking at a Bulgarian-Kazakh business forum before that, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said Bulgaria and Kazakhstan have potential for cooperation in the field of energy,transport and energy efficiency.

Kazakh Minister of Industry and Trade Galym Orazbakov pointed out that there is potential for development of bilateral cooperation in energy, machine-building, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, as well as in agriculture. In his words, food industry, electrical engineering and tourism.

Addressing the forum, Kalfin said there were possibilities for participation of the two states in the projects for oil pipelines Bourgas-Alexandroupolis and Bourgas-Vlore, as well as
in gas pipeline projects NABUCCO and South Stream. Energy efficiency is another possible sphere of cooperation, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said.

According to data of the Bulgarian embassy in Kazakhstan, some 4,000 visas are expected to be issued to Kazakh citizens by the end of the year. Since the beginning of 2007 to date they have
issued 3,500 visas. Last year the number of visas totalled 2,400.

Mainly solvent tourists from Kazakhstan arrive in Bulgaria, interested in the purchase of real estate, the embassy said. Trade between Kazakhstan and Bulgaria in the January-June 2007 period amounted to 16.4 million dollars. Kazakhstan exports mainly oil to Bulgaria and imports pharmaceuticals, perfumery and equipment.

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