Click here for the full text.

Remarks by Under Secretary Stuart Eizenstat on Caspian Energy Development
            and US Interests, 23 October 1997


US Interests in the Caspian region 

As a consumer nation, the United States is interested in enhancing and diversifying global energy supplies. It is the Clinton Administration's policy to promote rapid development of Caspian energy resources to reinforce Western energy security. In the longer term the scale of Caspian basin energy resources not only justifies -- but will demand -- multiple transportation options for moving production out into world markets. Multiple pipelines will prompt competition, will ensure reliable, more efficient operations, and will promote commercial viability. The U.S. supports a pipeline route from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Ceyhan, Turkey, as one of multiple routes. We recognize, however, that any pipeline will only be built if it is a commercially viable option for shippers... 

U.S. policy in the region is not an attempt to establish a U.S. sphere of influence in the region. Rather, U.S. policy stresses the importance of establishing a commercial basis for development and common benefits to be reaped. We see wide-ranging benefits to regional-actors (excluding Iran) from cooperative commercial development and transportation of Caspian energy resources. Currently, all existing export routes for Caspian energy travel north through Russia to Europe. Russia has very strong commercial and political interests in continuing to be a major transshipment point for the region's energy resources. For that to happen, Russia must address commercial concerns regarding reliability, security, transparency,, competitive tariffs, and access. Furthermore, as the developing markets of Asia attract oil and gas from the Caspian, additional market factors will influence the development of export routes for Caspian hydrocarbons... 

Caspian energy development is not a zero sum game -- all the new states can benefit from the region's rapid economic development. Establishment of a Caspian legal regime which resolves concerns about property rights and sovereignty will promote large scale investment in the region. Increased oil and gas exploration and production will spur the pace of pipeline construction and connect new markets to secure energy supplies. Producer and transit countries will earn fees in much needed-hard currency which can be used for capital investment in other sectors of their economies. Improvement in the overall economy and prosperity of the region will translate into a boom in demand for goods and services throughout the NIS and provide added social benefits. And cooperation between domestic and foreign companies will foster the transfer of skills and technology -- a winning combination for all concerned. Most of all, strong, growing economies can become the foundation for long-term stable, democratic governments in the region.