BP SHOWS INTEREST IN UKRAINIAN OIL EXPORT ROUTE. British Petroleum/Amoco is considering the feasibility of exporting Caspian oil from Baku via Ukraine's OdessaBrody pipeline as an alternative to the proposed BakuCeyhan route, Interfax reported on 2 February, quoting Vladislav Tarashevsky, chairman of the Ukrainian state committee for oil and gas. Interfax also quoted the oil company's vice president, Richard Nilton, as saying that the company is considering alternatives in view of the "political pressure" to opt for the Baku-Ceyhan route. The U.S. government is actively lobbying in favor of that route. In other news, on 29 January Canada's Alberta Energy Co. acquired a 5 percent stake in a consortium created by BP/Amoco, Norway's Statoil, a Turkish company, and the Azerbaijan state oil company SOCAR to exploit the Alov, Araz, and Sharg off-shore oil fields, UPI reported. LF

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PRAISES EU, NATO ENLARGEMENT. Borys Tarasyuk said in London on 2 February that the expansion of NATO and the EU to embrace Eastern European countries--including Ukraine--would create a "double bulwark" of democracy and freedom in Europe, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Tarasyuk, on a three-day visit to Britain, made his comments at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He said Kyiv's long-term goal is to attain EU membership and that enlargement of the union is a positive process toward creating a "common European home." Tarasyuk said NATO will continue to play a pivotal role in maintaining security and stability in Europe and that Kyiv regards the alliance's enlargement as an expansion of democracy and stability in Europe. He said there is popular support in Ukraine for closer ties with the West. PB

UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN WASHINGTON FOR LOAN TALKS. Valeriy Pustovoytenko held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on 2 February to discuss bilateral issues, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. Albright reportedly told Pustovoytenko that Kyiv must quickly step up economic reforms in order to continue receiving loans from the IMF. She also discussed outstanding disputes in Ukraine involving aggrieved U.S. businesses and warned that failure to resolve them could result in a drastic cut in U.S. assistance to Ukraine. Pustovoytenko met later with IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus to review the continuation of the next tranche of Ukraine's three-year loan. Pustovoytenko also held talks with World Bank President James Wolfensohn on loan programs for 14 projects. PB