Kazakhstan Defended Its Interests for Oil Transit via Batumi Black Sea Port

By Kulpash Konyrova

More than 70% of Kazakhstani oil from the scope of oil exported to world markets via the so-called Caucasian corridor, shall flow through the Black Sea port of Batumi, which as known is a property of national company of our Republican “KazMunajGaz”.

Remaining 30% of this scope shall be transited through another Georgian port in the Black Sea – Kulevi, the owner of which is a state oil company of Azerbaijan (GNKAR). Exactly this proportion within distribution of scopes of export of our “black gold” through this corridor is fine for Kazakhstan, this was reported to “Liter” by the Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev.

Let’s remind that Kazakhstan constantly declares about its devotedness to the policy of multi-vector line first of all in transportation of its main export goods – oil and gas, and in practice follows its strategy.

As we have already informed, each year scopes of oil production in the Republic grow. Thus, regarding the results of last year Kazakhstan managed to produce 80.1 mln tons of “black gold”.

It’s known that a huge share of our export goes along two oil pipelines, lying through the territory of Russia. But here we have limitations such as quotas.

And that is why our Republic sends remaining scopes of produced oil along another two ways – to China (oil pipeline Kazakhstan – China) and along the so-called south direction, which lays through the powerful waters of the Caspian Sea and further – through Caucasus.

Exactly last direction is supported by the European Union, which in recent years has been worried about its energy security. The main peculiarity of south direction (Caucasian corridor) is about that it goes around Russia.

Let’s recollect how the south way goes: oil, produced in west, loaded in the international port Aktau and by sea reaches Baku port, and from there loaded into road-tankers and by Azerbaijani-Georgian railway is delivered into the port Kulevi or the port Batumi in the Black Sea and from there to the world markets.

There is another way from Baku – pipeline Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan (with approach to the Mediterranean). But yet it is closed for Kazakhstani oil due to disagreements of the parties – company “Tengiz Shevroil” and shareholders of the oilpipeline – regarding transit tariff. And this is the subject of individual talks.

Today the situation is that even from the inside of the Caucasian corridor itself, beginning from Baku port, where our oil comes from Aktau port, some competition occurs.

Putting off the pipeline Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan due to disagreements on transit tariff, then yet the total scope of Kazakhstani oil sent to south goes to world markets through the Black Sea, i.e. Georgia, where two ports operate: Batumi and Kulevi. And this where the conflict of interests occurs.

The case is that the owner of Georgian Black Sea terminal in Batumi is a national company of Kazakhstan “KazMunajGaz”, and Kulevi – state oil company of Azerbaijan (GNKAR). Azerbaijani company wants for our oil that is transported through its territory, to be shipped from Georgian port Kulevi, and our national company is interested in loading of its port in Batumi.

One period the scopes of Kazakhstani oil, transported within Caucasian corridor, was distributed 50/50 between the ports Kulevi and Batumi. But there have been cases, when tariff for transit along Azerbaijani part of railway was overcharged, which was perceived as economic lever to dictate conditions.

However, such distribution couldn't satisfy Kazakhstan for long. Contradictions occurred, which naturally affected the transit scopes. Thus in fist half of 2011 oil flow reduced 15% through Aktau international marine port towards Baku ( only 4.3 mln tons oil were transported).

- Reduction of shipments through Aktau port was related with redirection of oil transit scopes from Batumi to Kulevi, which wasn’t acceptable for Kazakhstan, - explained the Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev.

According to him, they held talks after which only in the second half of the year “this issue was more or less solved”.

- Only last autumn we managed to achieve for 70% of shipped oil within south way to flow to Batumi port and 30% to Kulevi. And we are pleased with such proportions, - summarized the Minister.
Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from