Kazakhstan Bans Petrol, Diesel Imports from Russia for 45 DaysWorld | March 5, 2015, Thursday // 19:18| views
Kazakhstan on Thursday temporarily banned imports of cheap Russian diesel fuel and petrol to avert surplus and keep its own oil refineries running.
According to Deputy Minister for Energy Magzum Mirzagaliyev, the ban will be in force for the next 45 days.
The Russian rouble lost nearly half of its value against the US dollar last year due to Western economic sanctions and the slump in oil prices. The weakened currency benefited Russian exports of petrol and diesel fuel to Kazakhstan over the past two months, raising concerns of oversupply and denting profits at Kazakh oil refineries which can meet up to two-thirds of the country's fuel needs.
According to Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry, the country plans to import 1.1 million tons of duty-free petrol and 760,000 tons of diesel fuel from Russia. In January alone, however, petrol imports from Russian suppliers totalled 182,000 tons, double the planned volume for the month.
In order to make sure Kazakhstan could import the rest of the volume more evenly throughout 2015 and thus prevent fuel shortages, the government had decided to introduce the ban, Mirzagaliyev explained.
Kazakhstan’s oil and gas company KazMunayGas earlier said cheap Russian petrol imports may force Kazakhstan’s three oil refineries to suspend production.
Kazakhstan is member of Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union – a free-trade alliance that currently also includes Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.
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