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Kazakhstan Delays Oil Pipeline Restart

Kazakhstan has delayed the startup of crude oil exports from its giant Tengiz oilfield by way of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, four sources told Reuters on Friday.

Kazakhstan energy company Kazmunaigaz (KMG) has pushed back the restart of crude oil exports from the giant Tengiz oilfield after BP declared force majeure on crude oil loadings from the Ceyhan port.

"Force majeure was declared in Ceyhan, and (Tengiz) crude supplies to BTC were put on hold," a market source told Reuters.

Kazakhstan has banned the export of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and other oil products, for four months beginning on February 18, the country's Finance Ministry said earlier in the week, in order to ensure enough domestic supply.

Operations at Turkey's Ceyhan crude oil port were first disrupted by the dual earthquakes in the country earlier in the week, then by seasonal inclement weather. 

The BTC pipeline has the capacity to move 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, according to BP's website.

This year, KMG was hoping to send 1.5 million tons of crude oil through the BTC pipeline as a way of bypassing Russia, with KMG planning on beginning oil shipments this month from its Tengiz oilfield, which it co-owns in part with Chevron.

Damage assessments and repairs are currently still in progress at the Ceyhan terminal, sources told Reuters on Friday, with exports from the BTC pipeline possibly resuming on Sunday unless issues are found.


The Ceyhan port was damaged and a fire broke out after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey, killing thousands. Bloomberg sources estimated on Thursday that shipments of Azeri crude oil through the Ceyhan port wouldn't resume until late next week.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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