Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 117

Russia’s energy and fuel minister Yurii Shafranik and foreign economic relations minister Oleg Davydov yesterday invited any interested country to invest in the construction of a Balkan pipeline which would bring Caspian oil from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan to international markets, after that oil had crossed Russian territory and the Black Sea. The ministers also want the three producer countries to cover 50 percent of the cost of the after-Russia pipeline. The 320 kilometer-long pipeline, between Bulgaria’s port Burgas on the Black Sea and the Greek port Alexandroupolis on the Aegean, is projected for an annual throughput capacity of 30 to 45 million tons and $600 million to $700 million in construction costs. (18)

This pipeline is intended to enable Russia to inject itself as an intermediary between the Caspian oil producing countries and Western customers. Should it manage to pressure those countries into routing their oil exports through its territory, Russia would need a transportation route other than by tanker through the Bosporus and Dardanelles, which Turkey restricts for safety and ecological reasons. Moscow’s plan is to have those countries’ oil piped to its Black Sea port Novorossiisk, tanked to Burgas, piped again to Alexandroupolis, and tanked again from there to the West. The route is circuitous and entails high transshipment costs. The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline originated as a Russian-Bulgarian-Greek project. Moscow’s search for funds from any side, even the three impoverished Caspian countries spells difficulty for this politically motivated project.

1. Russian agencies, October 19

2. Russian agencies, October 19

3. "Russia Needs the Freedom Island Again," Segodnya, October 17

4. Interfax, October 18

5. Russian TV, October 10

6. Interfax, October 17

7. Reuter, October 18

8. Interfax, October 18

9. Nezavisimost, October 4, 1995

10. Literaturna Ukraina, October 11, 1995

11. Reuter, October 19

12. Interfax-Ukraine, October 11

13. Ukraine Radio, October 16

14. Reuter, October 18

15. Reuter, Ukraine Radio, October 18

16. Reuter, October 19; UPI, October 20

17. Flux and Basapress, October 18 and 19

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