. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CPC to Meet in Moscow Friday In Effort to Resolve Final Snags

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — U.S. oil major Chevron said Tuesday it hoped a decision would be made Friday that would pave the way to a formal opening for the Caspian pipeline project and played down delays.

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium, in which Chevron is involved, last week decided to delay a formal opening ceremony for the 1,510-kilometer pipeline. It said consortium members had to finalize agreement on transporting product.

Chevron vice chairman Richard Matzke made clear a new and final date for the opening ceremony might be known within days after a meeting to be held Friday on the transport terms.

"CPC will have a meeting Friday and hopefully the issue will be resolved," Matzke said after meeting Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the commercial capital Almaty. A Chevron spokesman based in Almaty said the CPC meeting would be held in Moscow.

"This is the transportation agreement, the foundation of the economic relationship between all the partners," Matzke said, stressing that major technical problems had been resolved, allowing for the shipment of Caspian oil to world markets.

The pipe, running from Kazakhstan's huge Tengiz oilfield to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, was due to be formally opened Aug. 6, although the CPC had said no oil would actually be loaded on to ships at that time.

However, it said that oil was only 35 kilometers from the terminal. "I think the [Novorossiisk] terminal will be in a condition to load a ship before the end of August," Matzke said. "It wouldn't be appropriate to begin business if we don't have all the commercial arrangements."

The transportation agreement, about which Russia has expressed concerns, regulates capacity allowances, commercial terms and customs procedures.