The construction of the Atasu-Alashankow pipeline, which is to link Kazakhstan to China, will start on September 28, 2004, China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao reported at the ongoing meeting of the Council of Prime Ministers of the SCO members in the Kazakhstani city of Bishkek. Kazakhstani Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov has reported that the pipeline would be constructed in a year. He stressed the necessity for all SCO members to activate cooperation in the energy sector.
The Atasu-Alashankow project is the second stage of the construction of the pipeline linking Kazakhstan to Western China. The first stage of the project is the construction of a 449-kilometer long pipeline Atyrau-Kenkiyak, which was over in early 2003. The projected capacity of the pipeline is 12m tons. The whole pipeline linking Kazakhstan to China is to be 3,000 kilometer long. Its capacity is projected to amount to 20m tons a year. The project is estimated at $3bn.