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Kazakhstan: China Wraps Up Huge Oil Contract

Almaty, 26 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Kazakhstan and China today announced a new oil contract, thus wrapping up a huge deal for exploration of oil fields in Western Kazakhstan.

Under the latest agreement, the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) will invest over $4 billion in the development and exploitation of the Aktyubinsk oil field. The agreement also provides for the construction of a pipeline to ship oil from Western Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan and, potentially, further on to Iran.

Kazakhstan and China earlier this week signed another $4 billion deal for the exploitation of the nearby Ozen oil field and the construction of a pipeline from Kazakhstan to China.

Kazakhstan has huge oil reserves but getting oil to world markets has proved slow because of the lack of a major pipeline. China is looking for secure oil supplies to meet soaring domestic demand.