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Kazakhstan buying tankers to transport its oil bypassing Russia: Bloomberg

Kazakhstan buying tankers to transport its oil bypassing Russia: Bloomberg Illustrative photo (Photo: Getty Images)
Author: Daria Shekina

Kazakhstan is purchasing tankers for transporting its oil across the Caspian and Black Seas. This is a sign that the country is seeking an alternative to its main export pipeline through Russia, according to Bloomberg.

"A unit of state-run KazMunayGas National Co. JSC already bought two tankers with deadweight tonnage of 8,000 tons each — relatively small ships by oil industry standards — to transport petroleum across Caspian Sea," the statement states.

Deputy Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan, Yerlan Akkenzhenov, mentions that for operations in the Black Sea, they plan to acquire two more vessels, each with a deadweight tonnage of 80,000.

Transporting oil through Russia

Kazakhstan is exploring these alternatives, despite the fact that the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), which passes through Russia, remains the most favorable route for exporting the country's oil.

According to Akkenzhanov, other modes of transport are challenging to compete with the Caspian Pipeline Consortium.

Last year, CPC transported around 80% of Kazakhstan's oil exports, delivering the oil via an overland pipeline from the country's major oil fields to the Black Sea tanker terminal near the Russian port of Novorossiysk.

Impact of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on oil extraction

The oil from this terminal has become an increasingly important alternative for supplying Russian oil to Europe after the invasion of Ukraine.

However, disruptions in the terminal's operations in the spring and summer of 2022 led Kazakhstan to limit oil extraction temporarily. The war also increased the risk for navigation in the region.

Akkenzhanov mentions that this year, Kazakhstan has already exported 300,000 tons of oil through the Caspian Sea and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which runs from Azerbaijan to Turkey. They plan to export a total of about 1.5 million tons this year.

Situation in the Black Sea

After Russia exited the "grain deal" and targeted a series of attacks on Black Sea ports in Ukraine, maritime drones targeted the Russian landing ship Olenegorsky Gornyak in the port of Novorossiysk, as well as the oil tanker SIG in the Kerch Strait.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Russian ships could be destroyed by the war's end if the Kremlin continued to attack Ukrainian ports.

Following this, the Minister of Energy Almasadam Sätqaliev mentioned that Kazakhstan aimed to secure the safety of exporting its oil through the Russian port of Novorossiysk. Diplomatic channels were planned to be utilized.