Similar dynamics on both sides of the Caspian Sea. We recently noted unrest over contested elections in Azerbaijan, where the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline has just opened. Now Kazakhstan—slated to be connected to the new pipeline by a link across the Caspian—seems headed down the same path.
From AP, Dec. 6:
ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Opposition leaders Monday called for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s election victory to be declared invalid, while Western-led observers said the vote that gave him 91 percent support was flawed.
Similar criticisms by international observer missions were key in establishing an air of legitimacy for mass protests that helped bring opposition leaders to power in the other former Soviet states of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan over the past two years.
But in oil-rich Kazakhstan, as in Azerbaijan’s contested parliamentary elections last month, the opposition’s options appeared to be limited by the comparatively authoritarian regimes they live under.
“We reserve the right to stage public protests, but we take into consideration the possible response from the authorities and we don’t want innocent blood being spilled,” said Nazarbayev’s main challenger, Zamarkhan Tuyakbai.
“We will take all necessary measures to appeal the results released by the Central Election Commission and declare the vote illegitimate,” Tuyakbai said.
From Kazakhstan’s Gazeta, Oct. 11:
A regular meeting between the Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani working groups for the transportation of the Kazakhstani oil by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is going to take place in the nearest future, Natiq Aliyev, president of the SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan), has told journalists, KZ-today correspondent reports from Baku.
He has observed that a draft intergovernmental agreement on the transportation of the Kazakhstani oil by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is ready and a parallel work on preparation of a transit agreement of the Kazakhstani oil by the BTC has started. “Recently I have had a telephone conversation with the Kazakhstani side and possibly we will hold another meeting in the nearest future,” – he has said.
In general, N. Aliyev has stated that the negotiating process is proceeding successfully.
The talks between the SOCAR and “KazMunaiGaz” on an intergovernmental agreement between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on the transportation of the Kazakhstani oil by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline started in November, 2002. The intergovernmental agreement between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan creates a new Aktau-Baku system for the transportation of Kazakhstani oil by the BTC pipeline. The capacity of the transferring system will be 20 million tons of oil per annum, up to 7.5 million tons will be transported during the first phase.
The length of BTC pipeline is 1,767 km, of which – 443 km are in Azerbaijan, in Georgia – 248 km, in Turkey – 1,076 km. The pipeline capacity is 50 million tons of oil per annum. The participants of BTC project are the following: BP (30.1 %); SOCAR (25.00 %); Unocal (8.90 %); Statoil (8.71 %); TPAO (6.53 %); ENI (5.00 %); Itochu (3.40 %); ConocoPhillips (2.50 %); INPEX (2.50 %), Total (5.00 %), and Amerada Hess (2.36 %). ENI, ConocoPhillips, Inpex, and Total also participate in Kashagan field development.
See our last post on the Great Game for Central Asia.