Kazakhstan Imposes Three-month Ban on Russian Gasoline

Kazakhstan’s energy ministry has introduced a three-month ban on the import of Russian gasoline, official documents reveal, according to Platts. The ban, which markets sources say could be related to rising gasoline prices in Russia, becomes effective 10 days after its publication, the document says.

According to Kazakhstan’s energy minister Kanat Bozumbaev, the rise in Russia’s gasoline prices has just recently begun impacting Kazakhstan’s domestic prices.

Healthy domestic supply was offsetting the higher Russian prices healthy, he said, adding that stocks are exceeding consumption significantly and in four or five months Kazakhstan will be able to cover 90% of its needs.

Despite producing 1.74 million barrels of crude per day, the central Asian country’s has long imported oil products from its former Soviet-era master Russia due to the past lack of refining capacity. Kazakhstan’s energy minister also said recently that the country imported 30% of its gasoline demand, 20%-25% of diesel and 58%-60% of jet fuel from Russia last year.

To change this, Kazakhstan is rapidly expanding production at its three large refineries. It has completed upgrading the Pavlodar plant, with work at Atyrau and Shymkent expected to be finished soon, the energy ministry said in response to Reuters questions.

The plants’ combined annual oil products output will increase by eight percent to 15.3 million tons this year, while gasoline and diesel production will exceed Kazakhstan’s domestic demand by 1.5 – 2.0 million tons per year, the energy ministry said.

According to officials in Astana and industry sources, once it finishes upgrading its oil refineries, Kazakhstan will be able to rival main players on the Central Asian fuel market – Russian firms like Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, and privately-owned ForteInvest.