Oil exports from Kazakhstan via the Black Sea terminal of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) face at least a month of reduced shipments and disrupted loading schedules due to urgent repairs needed at two of the terminal's three Single Point Moorings, CPC said on Tuesday, as carried by Reuters.
On Monday, CPC said that Single Point Moorings (SPM) 1 and 2 are temporarily out of service. Earlier this month, while performing scheduled maintenance on SPM-1 and SPM-2, divers discovered cracks in subsea hose attachments to buoyancy tanks, the consortium said. The integrity of the equipment remains intact, and there is no threat to flora and fauna of the Black Sea, CPC added.
The 1,500-km CPC pipeline from the giant Kazakh oilfields in the Caspian Sea to Novorossiysk, on the Russian Black Sea coast, moves over two-thirds of all Kazakhstan export oil along with crude from Russian fields, including those in the Caspian region.
On Tuesday, CPC said it was looking for a contractor to begin repair works at the two idled point moorings and that the guidance for a month of disrupted oil flows out of Novorossiysk was approximate and could change.
Reuters cited on Monday unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying that the single operating mooring point at Novorossiysk can handle less than 70 percent of the usual capacity of the terminal. This means that Kazakhstan may have to cut oil production.
This is not the first problem with the CPC pipeline and Kazakh oil exports this year. In July this year, the flow of oil along it was suspended by a Russian court decision linked to an oil spill that occurred last year. Later, an appeals court in Russia overturned this decision granting the restart of the pipeline.
Earlier this month, media reported that Kazakhstan's state oil company, KazMunayGas, was in talks with Azerbaijan's SOCAR to reroute some volumes from CPC to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline that runs from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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