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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Mull $1Bln Refinery in Batumi

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan may build an oil refinery at Batumi on the Black Sea, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told the state-run Kazinform news agency.

"The construction of the oil refinery at Batumi is a giant project, costing about $1 billion," Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, said Tuesday after talks with Nazarbayev.

"The Caucasus corridor with access to Europe and the Mediterranean becomes very important for us. Georgia is our active partner on this route," Nazarbayev told the news service.

Kazakhstan bought half of a Georgian oil terminal on the Black Sea to boost crude exports from the landlocked country via routes that avoid neighboring Russia.

KazTransOil, a unit of state-run KazMunaiGaz, agreed to form a joint venture with Batumi Oil Terminal to own and operate the Georgian Black Sea port, KazMunaiGaz said Dec. 22.

Kazakhstan exports most of its crude via the Chevron-led Caspian Pipeline Consortium to a port in Novorossiisk. The agreement will boost oil exports via the terminal by 25 percent next year to 15 million tons of crude and refined products, or about 300,000 barrels per day, KazMunaiGaz spokesman Mikhail Dorofeyev said.