The Ukrainian cabinet of ministers decided yesterday to initiate the creation of an international consortium for the transport of Caspian oil to Ukraine. Prime Minister Valery Pustovoytenko told the cabinet session that the project is to be treated as a “national priority.” The cabinet assigned an interagency task force to draw up within two months the proposals on creating a consortium and on Ukraine’s participation. It set specific goals: establishing an oil transport route from Azerbaijan via Georgia and the Black Sea to Odessa, and continuing across Ukraine to Poland; completing the construction of the Odessa oil terminal and the Odessa-Brody pipeline (up to the Polish border); and overhauling several Ukrainian oil-processing plants. At Brody, the line would branch into the existing Druzhba pipeline which continues across Poland westward.
The cabinet also appointed a delegation to discuss the project in Baku with international oil companies active in Azerbaijani oil projects. President Leonid Kuchma, for his part, discussed the project yesterday in Kyiv with the visiting top management of British Petroleum. (Ukrainian agencies, May 14) From Kyiv’s standpoint, the current slump in international oil prices constitutes an opportunity to bid for Caspian oil in order to break dependence on Russian oil (see the Monitor, May 12).
PARLIAMENTARY LEADER MORALLY SUPPORTS GEORGIAN GUERRILLAS IN ABKHAZIA.