Kazakhstan courts Norway's oil industry

Published April 4th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev asked Norwegian offshore oil companies Tuesday to help Kazakhstan exploit what could be the largest oil field discovered in the last 30 years. 

 

"We want to profit from Norwegian expertise in taking care of the immense wealth on the Caspian Sea seabed," Nazarbayev told reporters at a joint press conference here with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. 

 

Norway produces around 3.2 million barrels per day and is the world's second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.  

 

Nazarbayev, who headed a large delegation on a two-day official visit to Norway, is scheduled to meet with the head of Norway's state-owned oil company Statoil, Olav Fjell, on Wednesday to discuss possible future cooperation. 

 

Kazakhstan is hoping to become a major oil producer as a result of what could be the largest oil field discovered in the last three decades, which Nazarabayev has said could contain 50 billion barrels of crude oil. 

 

The Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company (OKIOC) announced in July that it had discovered oil at the East Kashagan field, which lies about 75 kilometers (45 miles) offshore in western Kazakhstan. 

 

Statoil recently pulled out of an international consortium to develop the oil field when the operational rights went to Italian company AGIP. 

 

Other Norwegian companies such as Kvaerner and Aker have also been involved in Kazakhstan, supplying equipment to the oil industry.—AFP. 

©--Agence France Presse 2001.  

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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