Kazakhstan bans oil transport via rail to Russian port
Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) will ban the transportation of oil products to the Russian port of Taman starting on 8 May. KTZ issued a document sharing its decision but did not provide any concrete reasons for it.
RailFreight.com contacted Sadvakkas Seitzhanov, the CEO of KTZ Express, to inquire about the ban’s impact on transportation volume from China to Russia. Seitzhanov explained that no impact is expected.
Possible underlying reasons
KTZ’s decision to stop oil transport via rail towards the Taman port might relate to several factors. For instance, a Reuters report from August 2022 claimed that Kazakhstan would start to use Azerbaijan’s biggest oil pipeline to sell its crude oil. This move would create an alternative route bypassing Russia since, until now, Kazakh oil was exported via the CPC pipeline crossing Russia to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, near Tamar.
Russia has threatened to shut down this pipeline multiple times, forcing Kazakhstan to look for viable and stable alternatives. The rather unfriendly warnings resulted from Kazakhstan’s stance concerning the war in Ukraine and the state’s unwillingness to recognise the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent last summer.
In response to the threats of cutting off its oil supply chain, Kazakhstan said it would ban the transport of products sanctioned by the EU and the US to Russia and Belarus. No concrete action has been taken in this regard since then. However, the latest development might be part of Kazakhstan’s diversification strategy, which does not want to see its oil products transiting through Russia anymore, at least until the situation stabilises.
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