Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ordered the construction of a new national gas pipeline stretching from Kyzylorda in the south of Kazakhstan to the Kazakh capital, Astana.

“Only nine (of Kazakhstan’s) regions are currently gasified – mainly in the western and southern regions, while the central and northern regions of the country are still without gas. This makes it necessary to build a gas pipeline,” Nazarbayev told a joint session of the Houses of Parliament on March 5.

Gas production in the country has annually increased from 8 to 52 billion cubic meters since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, a figure that will continue to grow on a yearly basis, according to Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev stressed that the Kazakh government must attract investment funds, including from international financial institutions to complete the project, adding that the project should be implemented within the next 18 months.

The project is expected to see a ten-fold reduction of harmful emissions in the atmosphere to 35,000 tonnes of solids in Astana.