Change of paradigm
text: Boris Antsipherov , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
Kazakhstan becomes increasingly important and independent in energy politics. Even if the oil prices were falling for a short period of time, it has not become a stable tendency: eventually they are continuing to grow.
At least, we can talk about oscillations in the slowly, but constantly growing price line.
Let us take a look at how the positions of Kazakhstan at the world energy market and, especially, in the world energy policies, appear.
Although nothing occurs in the republic itself and in its oil producing sector, a number of events and developments took place outside Kazakhstan.
The main thing is the harsher and more active policy carried out by Russia in its oil & gas relations with the Western partners. It becomes a serious factor in the world energy politics, frightening Western countries, from Europe to the USA. The most recent evidence of that is the efforts made by Washington to normalise its relationship with Libya that had been treated as a rogue state for twenty years by the USA.
And now Europeans have to pay more attention to the "alternative" sources of energy, one of the main ones among which is Kazakhstan.
The most recent proof of our statement is the last visit of the Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot to our republic.
The oil theme was very clearly present in this visit. Especially at the main public event of the visit, the ministerial lecture to students of the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU.) The choice of the audience was not random because its students are future oilmen, so the KBTU is a very appropriate place to make important statements.
In general, Mr. Bot did not say anything new, all his statements can be called "classic of the genre," up to images to which he referred, like "Renaissance of the Silk Way." But the lack of originality does not mean a lack of importance. In this case it is even the contrary.
Mr. Bot reminded that the European Commission had recently published a report (the "Green Book") on energy for the European Union, in which basic principles of the European energy policy had been formulated. This policy consists of three main "pillars:" increasing reliability of the energy supplies (obvious reaction to the Russian stance on energy dialogue,) promotion of free market principles in the European Union (and beyond,) and sustainability.
- From the European point of view Kazakhstan has become a key energy partner, as well as Russia and some other neighbouring countries, Dutch FM said.
But despite the mentioned Russian role, the Kazakhstani potential was underscored: the abovementioned "Green Book" says that "...the Caspian and Mediterranean countries from the point of view of gas import and transit," and Kazakhstan, as Mr. Bot stressed possesses both big oil & gas reserves and a successful geographic strategic position.
If sufficient investments are made, the country can enter the world's top eight biggest oil producers.
- We are welcoming the significant investments of Kazakhstan into its oil & gas sector, the minister said. And he proceeded stressing that the current production volumes could be doubled and even triples under condition of the sufficient investments.
He spoke a lot about the reliability of energy import and diversification of sources and routes, as a means towards achievement of such reliability.
"Therefore the construction of additional oil & gas pipelines is of utmost importance for Eurasia - it is the 21 century Silk Way; creating networks of mutual dependence we can share our common risks," - Mr. Bot said.
He did not express any concrete new ideas - he only mentioned the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipe and its importance from the environmental point of view. Moreover, as always in such cases nothing was said about the environmental issues of oil production and transportation in the Kazakhstani Caspian Sea sector.
This lack of concrete ideas and novelties in the speech of this high ranking official is precisely the sign that Kazakhstan boosts its own positions on the energy market, no matter how strange it may sound.
The West, Europe in this case, could not offer anything principally new, apart from the investments into the oil production (mentioned by the minister.)
But Kazakhstan itself has investment resources and they are growing. The investment flows can also come from the East - from China and potentially from India, this process is already underway.
So in this most important for the Kazakhstani economy issue the Eurocentric period is over.
We will see later whether it is good or bad, but Mr. Bot himself said that the diversification was necessary…
Photo from http://psdp.ru/
Also in the "In Depth"
09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan