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Exxon has warned that it is vulnerable to disruptions at its Kazakh oil operations because of the export infrastructure that passes through Russia.
In case the flow of oil from the Caspian Sea to international markets from a Russian Black Sea port via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium pipeline is "disrupted, curtailed, temporarily suspended.", Exxon "could experience a loss of cash flows of uncertain duration from its operations in Kazakhstan," the supermajor said in a regulatory filing cited by Reuters.
Exxon has a 25-percent stake in the Tengizchevroil consortium that operates two fields in the Kazakh section of the Caspian Sea, and 16.8 percent in the Kashagan field.
The production corresponding to these stakes averaged 246,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily last year. This brought Exxon earnings of $2.5 billion, the company also noted in its filing.
The news comes on the heels of suspended oil flows from the Tengiz field due to excess stocks at the Russian port of Novorossiysk. The excess stock in turn was the result of suspended exports from Novorossiysk because of adverse weather conditions.
Last year, oil flows via the CPC pipeline were halted first in spring, because of damage from a storm. Then, a few months later, exports were halted again due to a Russian court order following allegations of environmental rule violation. That order was overturned by another Russian court.
The Caspian Pipeline Consortium is the world’s largest international oil transportation project involving Russian and Kazakh companies for the transportation of crude oil from Kazakh and Russian fields to the port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea via a 1,500-km pipeline. Chevron has a 15-percent stake in the company.
Kazakhstan exports about 80 percent of the crude oil it sells abroad via the CPC pipeline, which makes it a critical part of the country's infrastructure.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com