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Russia/Kazakhstan: U.S. Welcomes Caspian Oil Agreement

Washington, 10 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States has welcomed a new agreement among members of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, including the governments of Russia, Kazakhstan and several American oil companies.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that the restructuring agreement is an important step toward the establishment of multiple pipelines.

It said the United States believes multiple pipeline routes will be the most efficient way to carry the Caspian Sea oil to Western markets and hopes all parties will now move quickly on pipeline construction.

The agreement, signed Friday by the governments of Kazakhstan. Russia, Oman and three American-based international companies, as well as a British and an Italian enterprise, finalized the consortium members and their holdings.

It also endorses plans to transport the oil by one pipeline going through Russia to Novorossijsk port, and another laid through Georgia to Batumi port, both on the Black Sea.

The U.S. statement urges all countries in the region to establish laws and regulations to create a favorable investment climate for development of the Caspian oil resources.