Russia’s Fuel and Power Ministry and the Transneft company have decided to allow Kazakhstan to export an extra 1.5 million tons of crude oil annually through the Russian pipeline system in 1999. Russia had until now limited Kazakhstan–a potential competitor–to 7.5 million tons (Russian agencies, Xinhua, December 11). The quota increase may be intended either an incentive to Kazakhstan to cold-shoulder the planned trans-Caspian and Baku-Ceyhan (Turkey) pipeline. It may also be designed as a reward to Astana for adhering to the project to build a pipeline from Tengiz via Russia to Novorossiisk.
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