This week in Central Asia we are concerned about continued delays in production in Kazakhstan’s supergiant Kashagan; Gazprom’s solidification of control over the energy sector in Kyrgyzstan and an emerging political crisis in Uzbekistan that will bode ill for foreign investors who require high-level alliances to operate in this corrupt environment.
• The last week of December saw Russia and Kazakhstan sign an intergovernmental agreement on oil transport from Russia to China via Kazakhstan.
• Kazakhstan re-imposed a temporary ban on the export of some petroleum production, which took effect on 1 January 2014. The temporary export ban is on light distillates, kerosene, gas oil and other petroleum products in order to prevent a critical shortage of oil products and a price spike in Kazakhstan. Special gasoline products and domestic heating oil are exempted from the ban. The ban was originally implemented in January 2013 for six months, so this will be the second time the ban was extended, for another six-month period.
• On 25 December, Kazakhstan announced plans to increase oil production up to 83 million tons for 2014. This does not include oil production from the supergiant Kashagan oil field where recoverable reserves are estimated at 11 billion barrels, with over 1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves.
• OPEC predicts Kazakhstan’s oil production will increase by 50,000 barrels per day and reach 1.7 million bpd in 2014, while the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) predicts a 40,000 bpd increase in oil production up to 1.65 million bpd for this year.
• The supergiant Kashagan has met with several delays, most recently due to the malfunctioning pipelines—a subject on which experts will be releasing a situation report within the next two weeks. The pipelines are being tested by the UK-based Welding Institute (TWI) in Cambridge to determine the cause of leaks. The resumption of production will depend on the findings of this report. Production at Kashagan began on 11 September, but was suspended on 24 September due to a gas leak. After repairs, production was again resumed, but halted on 9 October when another gas leak was discovered and other potential leaks were revealed.
Gazprom is strengthening its foothold in Kyrgyzstan’s…