A proposed hydrocarbon pipeline from Kazakhstan will have the potential to be extended to Russia resolving the headache of transportation that has vexed Indian energy security managers when they scout for hydrocarbon collaboration with Moscow.
India utilised Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov’s visit to signal a political interest in the deal which will undergo a 240-day vetting period by Astana. Some of the oil from Kashagan could be destined for this pipeline.
India has a 25 per cent stake in Satpayev, a small Caspian Sea block, and is interested in acquiring the stakes of an American company in a much bigger block in Kashagan region. The proposed Indian interest in the $ 50 billion Kashagan project will cost about $5 to 6 billion, making it the oil company’s biggest ever overseas investment.
“With the TAPI pipeline on the drawing board, this pipeline doesn’t seem to be a political impossibility. The length too is no big deal because many pipelines are in the 1,200-1,300 km range,” said an official while cautioning that the proposal was at a very early stage and no study had been commissioned so far.
The two sides also exchanged notes on cooperation in the civil nuclear sector that will go beyond the current seller-buyer relationship for 2,100 tonnes of uranium. Kazakhstan is looking at value addition such as fabricating fuel rods while India is prepared to offer technology for the construction of small nuclear plants in Central Asia’s largest country where base load is not high.
India and Kazakhstan also plan to cooperate closely in Afghanistan where New Delhi’s aid model has been appreciated by the Central Asian countries all of whom have a vital stake in stabilising the country.