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KAZAKHSTAN - High Transit Fees.

Caspian exporters have suffered from high transit and rail freight costs, which since early 1998 have averaged about $6-8/barrel. As a result and because of very low oil prices in 1998, one foreign company capped its wells and temporarily abandoned production. Others, including Asian companies hit by the financial crisis at home in 1998, sold out. Russia, Azerbaijan and Georgia charged high transit fees and rail tariffs.

For oil firms to stick to its routes, Transneft in mid-2000 offered lower tariffs on a pipeline linking Baku to Novorossiysk from $15-67/ton to $8-10/ton. It was to make the route more attractive than the Baku-Ceyhan line.

After 9/11 and the subsequent US declaration of war against global terrorism, Russia has offered itself as a more stable petroleum supplier to the West than the Persian Gulf. Later Russian President Putin signed 10-year pacts with the rulers of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan for closer co-ordination and JVs with the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom in E&P, transport, marketing and pricing of gas exports.

In late 2003, the crude oil transport tariff for the Russian section of the CPC was $26.19 per ton ($3.59/b). In 2002, Russia's Federal Energy Commission (FEC) had suggested the tariff should be increased to over $38/ton. But the CPC then said the FEC could not do that as the original agreement covering the line's operations stipulated that all changes must be approved by the shareholders.

The CPC, formed in 1992, saw its pipeline from Tengiz to a new terminal 25 km west of Novorossiysk, make the first delivery to a tanker on Oct. 13, 2001. That phase, 564,000 b/d but with a potential of up to 580,000 b/d in October 2002, was completed after several years of politics and unexpected problems including expensive over-designs and bureaucratic obstacles from the Russian side (see background in Vol. 55, OMT 5). The throughput in 2003 exceeded 300,000 b/d but the capacity by late 2003 had reached 400,000 b/d. This has since risen to almost 700,000 b/d.

With the line's final capacity to reach 67m t/y (1.46m b/d), the CPC ownership structure is as follows: 50% for the governments of Russia (24%), Kazakhstan (19%) and Oman (7%); and 50% for eight companies:

Chevron, 15%, with TCO entitled to use 400,000 b/d of the capacity in 2006. Of CPC's final 67m t/y capacity, Chevron's allocation by 2014/2015 will be 15m t/y. From early 2003 the pipeline has been pumping a CPC Blend, a mix of Tengiz and Urals (31-33[degrees] API, with 1.2% S). From last June 2004 Karachaganak's condensate lightened the blend further. A quality bank has been set up with sellers of higher quality oil compensated by the Russian shippers of the lower quality Urals.

LukArco, 12.5%. LukArco, owned 54% by LUKoil and 46% by Arco (now BP), will have a final allocation of 10m t/y (200,000 b/d). Rosneft-Shell Caspian Ventures, 7.5%. Of this, Rosneft holds 3.825%, and Shell has 3.675%. Shell is a partner in the Agip-operated Kashagan. Agip has 5% in the BTC venture. The Rosneft/Shell share of CPC's final throughput will be 5m t/y.

ExxonMobil, 7.5%. ExxonMobil, a partner in TCO, has other E&P operations in Kazakhstan. Its final CPC allocation will be 7.5m t/y.

BG Group, 2%. BG, the co-operator of Karachaganak gas/condensate field, will have a final allocation of 3m t/y. Agip, the other co-operator of Karachaganak, has 2% and will have a final allocation of 3m t/y.

Shell, 1.75%. Shell in 2003 bought the Kazakh assets of Kerr-McGee of the US, which consisted of 50% in the Arman field, 1.75% in the CPC and 100% of the Mertvyi Kultuk exploration area. Shell's final CPC allocation will be 3m t/y.

Kazakhstan Pipeline Ventures (KPV), 1.75%. KPV is owned 50.02% by KMG and 49.98% by BP. KPV will have a final allocation of 3m t/y. Trade House KMG will have a final quota of 7.5m t/y.

In addition, the Kazakh government will have a final allocation of 3.8m t/y. The Russian government will have a quota of 4.8m t/y. Omani, represented by Oman Oil Co. (OOC), will have 1.4m t/y.

The 40-inch, 1,510 km system involves a 755 km pipeline built from Kropotkin near Tikhoretsk (S. Russia) to Novorossiysk, and storage facilities at the Kazakh pipeline hub of Atyrau and at Novorossiysk, which represent the first phase. This was built by Tefken of Turkey. The other 755 km half of the system involves Russian and Kazakh sections of an old pipeline from Tengiz to Kropotkin which have been rehabilitated by the CPC. Russia's 300 km section from the Kazakh border was given to the CPC as part of its investment and, under an agreement signed in late 1994, Transneft expanded its capacity from 200,000 to 400,000 b/d. The 455 km Kazakh section connecting Tengiz to Atyrau and then to the Russian border went to the CPC as part of Astana's investment. Another Kazakh pipeline, 635 km, linking Karachaganak with the CPC system at Atyrau was completed in 2003. A plant blending Karachaganak condensates into the mix of Tengiz and Urals crudes has been built.

Phase-2 will involve additional pumping stations and a larger pipe to raise the system's capacity to 67m t/y. By then the project will have cost over $4.5 bn (see detailed background in Vol. 63, OMT No. 6).

Other Arteries - P/L To China: KMG's pipeline unit has expanded the crude oil line from Tengiz to the Caspian terminal of Aktau to 160,000 b/d. It has a 120,000 b/d, 250 km crude oil pipeline built from the Kenkiak field in the Aktyubinsk region to Atyrau by a Russian firm which was completed in March 2003. This line has been expanded to 300,000 b/d. Eventually it could be reversed for exports to China, which is intending to import over 1m b/d from the Caspian region

Kazakh crude oil flowing through a landmark 200,000 b/d pipeline opened in late 2005 finally poured into storage in China on July 11, marking the start of commercial operations for the mainland's first trans-national pipeline.

It took nearly two months for the crude to cross into China after it reached the border in May, as customs officials from both countries settled differences over measuring standards. The delay suggests the actual volume of Kazakh crude oil to land in China this year could be smaller than an industry estimate of 4.5m t/y, or 4% of China's total oil imports.

Xinhua News Agency said the crude oil was flowing at a slow 120 cubic metres per hour due to valve failure in Kazakhstan, and it was to take 15 days to fill the 315,000-barrel tank near the Chinese border in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The crude was then to be piped to Dushanzi refinery, a unit of China's top oil and gas producer PetroChina (itself a unit of China National Petroleum Corp - CNPC).

The US$800m, 966-km pipeline from Atasu in Kazakhstan to the Chinese border at Alashankou is part of Beijing's plan to boost supply security via long-term contracts from key suppliers. Until July China had imported Kazakh crude by train.
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Aug 7, 2006
Previous Article:KAZAKHSTAN - Export Tax.
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