KIEV (Reuters)–Senior representatives of 13 states in Central Europe–the Caucasus and Central Asia agreed on Thursday to prepare common principles for transporting Caspian and Central Asian oil to Europe.
Participants at the meeting in Ukraine’s capital Kiev signed an umbrella agreement to create unified rules on international oil and gas transport activities.
"Our states have agreed to create unified rules of play–to form unified principles concerning the content and management of those systems," Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko told journalists at the meeting–which was held under the auspices of the European Union’s Interstate Oil and Gas Transport to Europe (INOGATE) program.
The agreement was signed by the prime ministers of Azerbaijan–Armenia–Tajikistan–Georgia’s state minister as well as representatives from Bulgaria–Belarus–Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan–Moldova–Mongolia–Romania–Turkmen’stan and Uzbekistan.
Russia also sent a representative as an observer. A number of former Soviet republics and other states are eager to cash in on promised new oil flows from the Caspian and Central Asian regions.
Ukraine–for one–says it could offer the shortest possible route to Western markets if investors would help it implement a project to link its southern Black Sea ports with international oil pipelines in Poland.
An information sheet prepared by the EU–which says it does not favor any particular route–said current difficulties in identifying which country bore which risks of investment when a pipeline crossed international borders hindered investment.
"Under the INOGATE agreement–parties accept the obligation to cooperate when establishing one or more interstate oil and gas transportation systems crossing their territories," the statement said.