Ukrainian state minister for energy and industry Anatoly Minchenko and Turkish energy minister Recai Kutan have signed in Ankara a $650 million agreement to lay a pipeline that would carry Middle Eastern oil across Anatolia to the Black Sea, for further shipment to Ukraine and Central Europe. Turkey’s Botas state company, as project leader, and Kyiv’s Ukrnaftohazbud will lay the 564 kilometer long pipeline from Ceyhan on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast to Samsun on Turkey’s Black Sea coast. The pipeline will initially carry a massive 40 million tons annually, an amount that will increase still further, to 70 million tons, in a follow-up stage. The plan entails tanking the oil from Samsun to Odessa, using part of it for Ukraine’s needs, and reexporting another part to Central Europe through the Druzhba pipeline system, which links up at Brody with Poland. There was no immediate word on the project’s timetable. (Ukrainian agencies, June 19-20) The project represents Ukraine’s first major practical step toward the goal of reducing dependence on Russian oil supplies.
Belarusan Popular Front Holds Landmark Congress.