Report by Press TVIran says it opposes the construction of any underwater pipeline in the Caspian Sea that will carry oil from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan.
Caspian Sea (Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC)
Ice clogs the northern end of the Caspian Sea in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from March 31, 2003. The Caspian Sea is actually a salt-water lake, albeit the largest lake in the world, covering 373,000 square kilometers (1 square kilometer=0.3861 square mile). Surrounding the Caspian Sea are five countries (clockwise from top left): Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
Because the Caspian sits on considerable oil reserves, this lake is of great strategic and economic importance. Another of the Caspianīs very valuable attributes is the fact that this is where sturgeon, the source of beluga caviar, live and spawn. Unfortunately, the destruction of spawning areas and illegal fishing have had serious repercussions on the sturgeon population.
Also visible in the image are a number of fires, which are marked in red. The fires are concentrated in the fan-shaped Volga River Delta at upper left and all along the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains at middle left. These fires are likely agricultural in nature; many farmers use fire to prepare the land for spring planting.
"The pipeline carrying Kazakh oil to Azerbaijan will be constructed on the seabed and could pose threats to the ecological system of the Caspian Sea," Hossein Noqrekar-Shirazi, the deputy head of Iran's oil minister in international affairs, said Saturday.
He added that Iran is against any plan that can disturb the ecological balance of the Caspian Sea, noting that Russia also opposes the construction of the pipeline.
The transfer of oil produced in the Caspian Sea to global markets is considered a major obstacle for the littoral states.
In June 2008, Iran announced plans to build a cross-country pipeline to transfer oil from the Caspian region to the Persian Gulf and world markets.
Iran is currently conducting feasibility studies for the 1,550-kilometer pipeline, which is expected to carry one million barrels of oil per day from the northern port of Neka to Jask Port in southern Iran.
Noqrekar-Shirazi said earlier that Iran had held several rounds of talks with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia on the construction of the Neka-Jask pipeline.
An agreement, however, has yet to be reached on the issue.
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