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Kazakh Oil Flows Interrupted Again

  • Damaged equipment at the Black Sea terminus of the CPC pipeline caused another supply outage.
  • According to CPC, two of the three mooring points at Novorossiysk have been shut down.
  • Repairs have yet to be organized, and the company did not specify how long this will take.

The flow of crude oil from Kazakhstan via Russia has been interrupted by damaged equipment at the Black Sea terminus of the CPC pipeline, Reuters has reported, citing the pipeline's operator.

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.

According to CPC, two of the three mooring points at Novorossiysk have been shut down, leaving only one to handle Kazakh oil exports. The company's majority shareholder, Russian state pipeline monopoly Transneft, said that the mooring points were suspended because of damage to "the attachment points of underwater sleeves to buoyancy tanks."

Repairs have yet to be organized, and the company did not specify how long this will take.

This is not the first problem with the CPC pipeline 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.

Reuters cited 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.

Earlier this month, media reported that Kazakhstan's state oil company, Kazmunaigaz, 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.

However, the rerouting would only involve a fraction of Kazakhstan's export oil volumes due to capacity constraints. Meanwhile, production from the two biggest Caspian fields in Kazakh waters—Kashagan and Tengiz—remains lower than usual due to seasonal maintenance.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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