Kazakh, Turkmen may direct oil away from Iran
St Petersburg, June 17, 2010
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan may redirect oil exports to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk rather than shipping it to Iran due to sanctions imposed from June 1, an industry source said on Thursday.
Iran, which faces new sanctions imposed last week by the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, has swap arrangements with Central Asian producers under which it imports crude into Caspian ports and supplies the equivalent barrels on behalf of its partners in the Persian Gulf.
Kazakhstan has been pumping oil to Iran at a rate of 1.2 million tonnes per year. Turkmenistan exports 2 million tonnes per year, but it is unclear how much goes to Iran.
The source said the Kazakh and Turkmen barrels would be directed through the Baku-Makhachkala-Novorossiisk pipeline originating in the Azeri capital on the shore of the Caspian Sea.
Turkmenistan also has the technical ability to switch supplies to the BP-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
The pipeline has a capacity of 5 million tonnes per year but is only pumping at a rate of 3.5 million at the moment.
In April, Russia's second-largest crude producer, Lukoil, stopped gasoline sales to Iran because of measures imposed earlier. – Reuters