China is undertaking a buying spree of oil and gas assets in oil rich Kazachstan. A year and a half ago, China’s state oil company CNPC became the main shareholder of PetroKazakhstan in a $4.2bn deal.
From petrol stations to refineries and now even a 1,000km (620 mile) long pipeline, the first one ever to go to mainland China, the list of Beijing’s acquisitions is growing by the day.
“Our relationship with Kazakhstan is a priority for us, and our foreign policy,” says Wang Bing, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the country’s economic capital Almaty.
“We are co-operating on many levels, and of course energy is very important. The new pipeline, for example, is hugely significant for both China and Kazakhstan. It is the first oil pipeline into mainland China, and it’s good for Kazakhstan too, as it has allowed Kazakhstan to diversify export routes,” Wang Bing said.
Kazakhstan is about to become one of the world’s top oil producers, and as the scramble for its resources intensifies, the country’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, says the game is fair, and that Russia, China and the West are all welcome to invest. “The United States, Russia and China are all interested in Kazakhstan, and we don’t want to allow a conflict of interest here,” Mr Nazarbayev told the BBC.