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Kazakhstan introduces 3-month ban on imports of Russian gasoline

London (Platts)--6 Jun 2018 1019 am EDT/1419 GMT


Kazakhstan has introduced a three-month ban on the import of Russian gasoline, according to a document on the energy ministry website, which becomes effective 10 days after its publication.

The ban could be related to rising gasoline prices in Russia, according to market sources.

Kazakhstan's energy minister Kanat Bozumbaev said that so far the rise in Russia's gasoline prices was not having a big impact on Kazakhstan's domestic prices. He said the higher Russian prices were offset by healthy domestic supply, adding that stocks are exceeding consumption significantly and in four or five months Kazakhstan will be able to cover 90% of its needs, according to a Tengrinews report published on the energy ministry website.

Kazakhstan is reliant on imports of Russian oil products until it completes the upgrade of its refineries. Kazakhstan's energy minister also said recently that last year the country covered 30% of its gasoline demand, 20%-25% of diesel and 58%-60% of jet fuel with Russian imports.

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But once the upgrades are completed in three or four months, Kazakhstan will be able to fully cover its gasoline, diesel and jet requirements, Bozumbaev said as quoted by Kazinform news agency and reported on the energy ministry website.

In the second half of the year, Kazakhstan will also decide on a location for a new, fourth refinery, Bozumbaev said on the energy ministry website. He also said that all three refineries in the country will reduce the duration of their turnarounds from 45 to 20 days annually and a 45-day turnaround will be held only once every three years.

Up until 2018 each refinery stopped for 30 to 45 days every year, the minister said. The change of the maintenance cycle will increase crude oil processing by 300,000 mt/year and thus allow the Kazakhstan market to be entirely supplied with domestic product.

Kazakhstan has introduced bans on imports of oil products from Russia on several occasions as a measure to safeguard its own refineries.

Russian gasoline prices, which have risen sharply over the past few months, halted their upward move after reports that the government was considering reducing excise duties on gasoline and diesel from June 1.

Russia's Federal anti-monopoly service said last week that a lack of supply and delays in delivery had resulted in motor fuel price rises in Russia. It sent warnings to several companies, also asking them to provide data for the exports of naphtha, a major feedstock for producing gasoline.

The increased exports of naphtha in the first few months of the year were also seen as denting into production and hence availability of finished grade gasoline. There have also been discussions in the government about introducing a restrictive export duty on gasoline to curtail exports, according to market sources.

--Elza Turner, elza.turner@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com




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