14 Nov 2011

Promises and hurdles in EU-Kazakhstan energy cooperation

Nargis Kassenova

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Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, Karim Massimov, once referred to energy cooperation as the ‘core’ of relations between his country and the European Union (EU). Indeed, there is great mutual interest in this area. Six percent of the EU’s crude oil imports and 16 percent of its uranium imports come from Kazakhstan. And around 80 percent of the latter’s oil exports go towards Europe. For Kazakhstani producers, access to European lucrative and reliable markets is of utmost importance. Over the last several years, the thrust of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy was aimed at increasing the capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) that pumps Kazakhstani oil to Europe. Moreover, Kazmunaigaz’s (KMG) – the national oil and gas company – major external investment was in the Romanian oil company Rompetrol.