Kazak Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov issued a decree at a governmental work meeting Tuesday evening, urging the government and the national petroleum and gas corporation to start the second stage of Sino-Kazak oil pipeline project.
"In order to speed up the multi-channel oil export and the earlier connection of pipelines in Kazakhstan, Russia and China, the prime minister urges the parliament and the national petroleum and gas corporation to take measures as early as possible to guarantee that the project starts within this year," the prime minister's press office said in a press release.
The supply of oil in western China is far below demand. As a result, China's demand for Kazak oil is on the rise and the decision to build the Atasu-Dushanzi pipeline is rational, the release said.
The Sino-Kazak oil pipeline, from Atyrau, a city on the coast of the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan, to Dushanzi, Xinjiang, China, covers a distance of 3,000 km and will transport 20 million tons of oil a year. Its construction is expected to cost US$3 billion.
The first stage of the pipeline, from Kenkiyak to Atyrau, constructed by China and Kazakhstan, went into operation in spring 2003. The 1,320-km Atasu-Dushanzi pipeline to be built will be completed within two years.
(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2004)