Kyrgyzstan blames Kazakhstan for fuel shortages11 july 2014, 13:20
Kyrgyzstan has a shortage of fuel resulting from around 1000 wagons being stuck at Kazakhstan's border, Tengrinews reports referring to Kyrgyzstan’s Oil Traders Association.
Kazakhstani customs officials have not been letting railway fuel tanks heading to Kyrgyzstan through the border since April. Around 600 tank wagons have accumulated at Lugovaya station in Zhambyl Oblast in Kazakhstan's south at the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border, and another 400 railway tanks with Russian fuel destined for Kyrgyzstan are delayed at Kazakh-Russian border.
The Kazakh customs official are acting based on the decree of the Kazakhstan government №1402 adopted on December 26, 2013 that came into effect on January 1, 2014. It initially banned export of petroleum products from Kazakhstan for six month, but was prolonged for another six months on July 1.
However, Kyrgyzstan’s Association of Oil Traders insists that Kazakhstan delays fuel selectively: fuel tanks with similar shipping documents going through the territory of Kazakhstan to Tajikistan and Afghanistan, as well as those heading to Kyrgyzstan's south are crossing the customs border in Shymkent Oblast in southern Kazakhstan with no delays.
According to Kyrgyzstan’s Association of Oil Traders, the railway shipments via Kazakhstan are the only source of fuel for Kyrgyzstan, and the delays at the border have cut the supplies creating a shortage of fuel in Kyrgyzstan. If the delays continue for another two weeks, fuel prices in Kyrgyzstan will reach 45 som per liter ($ 0.9), the Association says.
According to the Association, since the delays began in April 2014 the price of AI-92 gasoline rose from 38 som to 40.7 som per liter, A-80 gasoline has gone from 34.8 to 37.1 som per liter and diesel fuel prices went from 40.3 som to 43.7 som per liter.
The Association of Oil Traders has filed several inquiries with Kazakhstan's and Kyrygzstan's authorities asking them to resolve the incident.
The Customs Control Department of Zhambyl Oblast in Kazakhstan confirmed that in April and May 427 fuel tanks with diesel fuel and gasoline destined for Kyrgyzstan were delayed at Kulan customs crossing. "The held off goods were shipped to Kyrgyzstan by Kazakhstani residents in violation of the agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia on cooperation in supplies of petroleum and petroleum products to Kazakhstan as of December 9, 2010 that bans export of diesel fuel and gasoline from Kazakhstan out of the Customs Union starting from January 1, 2014," it said.
The Customs Control Department of Zhambyl Oblast initiated 10 criminal cases against 10 Kazakhstani companies for illegal trafficking of oil products.
With the route through Kazakhstan being the only one for fuel shipments to Kyrgyzstan it remains unclear how Kyrgyzstan is going to deal with the problem. Were it part of the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, it would not be affected by the fuel ban. Over a month ago Kyrgyzstan declared its intention to join the Customs Union before the year end, but then requested a lump sum from Kazakhstan and Russia in 'aid' in exchange for its joining.
The agreement banning export of fuel outside the Customs Union by Kazakhstan has been in place since January this year, but Kyrgyzstan's problems at the customs border started occurring only now. With these factors combined, the customs hold offs look very much like leverage used by Kazakhstan against Kyrgyzstan to speed up its accession into the Customs Union. And this must be the reason why Kyrgyzstan’s Oil Traders Association is blaming Kazakhstan for the shortages, not the CU agreement.
Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina