Russia to the rescue

Russia and the Caspian region will have a critical role to play in supplying the future energy needs of the UK, Energy Minister Brian Wilson said today.

Speaking at the Commonwealth of Independent States Oil and Gas summit in London, Mr Wilson stressed the importance of international relationships in helping the UK achieve its environmental and energy security goals.

‘Exploring and developing new reserves in the Caspian region, and investing in pipeline construction will deliver a greater proportion of oil and gas to Western markets,’ said Wilson. ‘New export routes, such as oil pipelines from Azerbijan and a gas export line to Turkey, are under development. Russia is considering a new gas pipeline to Western Europe via the Baltic States.

The UK has been self sufficient in oil and gas for the past three decades, but is expected to become reliant on imports of gas by 2006 and of oil by around 2010. To secure the supply of those imports, the UK is keen to create multiple pipeline routes in case of any interruption to supply.

‘Multiple import routes are the key to ensuring the UK secures its supply of oil and gas for years to come,’ added Wilson. ‘Developing more than one route will generate mutual dependency, and encourage stable relations between countries in the region.

‘Oil and gas in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan represent significant opportunities for UK firms. Investment in the Kazakh industry over the next decade alone will exceed forty billion dollars and the UK is already focusing its expertise on the offshore oil province in the North Caspian.’

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