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Kazakhstan lifts restrictions from import of Russian petrol

12 november 2013, 00:03
The Government of Kazakhstan has lifted the ban from import of gasoline from Russia, Tengrinews reports citing the press-service of Ministry of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan.

The ban on import of Russia-made petroleum products was introduced in May 2013 in Kazakhstan. The resolution restricting the petrol imports from Russia was issued by the Kazakhstan Government on April 23. The restrictions were introduced to protect the domestic market from overstocking, then Minister of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan Sauat Mynabyev said when presenting the ban. At that point it was announced that Kazakhstan restricted the import of petrol from Russia, in particular AI-80 petrol and fuel oil until the end of 2013.

"The resolution to restrict the imports from Russia has been adopted. Whether the actual restrictions will take place will depend on the market situation. This (resolution) enables us to control the situaion," the then-minister said.

Kazakhstan had been considering the limitation of petroleum products inflow from Russia for quite a while before adopting the resolution. As Mynabeyev put it then, unless the flow was limited, Kazakhstan would have 'drowned' in the Russian-made petroleum products this current year. Besides, it was offered to compensate the restrictions of petroleum import from Russia by means of Chinese tolling.

After the restrictions were introduced there were fears that Kazakhstan might face a catastrophic deficit of petrol. According to the Kazakhstan Fuel Association, the petrol deficit was supposed to peak in October 2013, when Shymket Oil Refinery was closed for a 30-day maintenance. The trade experts were saying that lifting the ban on petrol imports from Russia would solve the problem. But the current Minister of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan Uzakbai Karabalin denied there was any fuel deficit in Kazakhstan. He reminded that use of petroleum products inferior to Euro 3 standard in quality was officially prohibited in Russia, which refocused producers of low grade fuel to the Kazakhstan and other neighboring markets and made them willing to supply it at dumping prices. According to the Minister, the government had to restrict that stream.

In the meanwhile, the experts interviewed by Tengrinews were saying that Kazakhstan authorities needed to deal with the issue. According to the experts, they had to either lift the restriction from the Russian petrol imports or allow supplies from China or other neighboring countries that had the appropriate refining capacity.

The petrol prices in Kazakhstan went up in October 2013. The ceiling retail prices (including VAT) were officially set to 102 tenge ($0.7) per liter of diesel fuel, 89 tenge ($0.6) per liter of AI-80 petrol and 115 tenge ($0.8) per liter of AI-92 petrol.

By Azhar Ashirova

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