Развитие направлений экспорта нефти в Казахстане

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Масштабные планы по увеличению добычи нефти в Казахстане, в том числе с таким нетерпением ожидаемое начало коммерческой добычи на казахстанском шельфе Каспийского моря, диктуют необходимость своевременного создания транспортных мощностей, способных обеспечить экспорт запланированных объемов нефти. Актуальность вопроса подкрепляется планами правительства - к 2015 году Казахстан намерен довести объем добычи до уровня порядка 150 млн. тонн в год.

Глядя на эту цифру, возникает вполне логичный вопрос: каким образом Казахстан намерен обеспечить экспорт растущих объемов нефти? Неудивительно, что на фоне такого вопроса пристальное внимание сегодня уделяется теме развития направлений экспорта казахстанской нефти.

A Look at the Export Options for Kazakh Oil

Kazakhstan's far-reaching plans to raise oil production, including the eagerly awaited commercial production stage for the Caspian offshore fields, call for the timely creation of the transportation options capable of handling the oil exports envisioned. The importance of the issue is supported by the government's plans - by 2015 Kazakhstan intends to raise the oil production to about 150 million tons a year.

When looking at this figure, it's quite logical to ask the question how Kazakhstan is planning to transport this oil to the world markets. It's not surprising that with this question in mind, the issue of developing the Kazakh oil export options is getting so much attention today.

Kazakhstan's policy for the development of oil export options is based on a number of factors including economic, strategic, and political considerations.

First, an export option should be economically viable for oil companies in terms of transportation costs and target market prices and should generate enough revenue to support itself and make payments to a host country's budget.

Second, today Kazakhstan is facing the need to diversify export routes and enter new markets. This need is based on the fact that Kazakhstan is remotely located from major world oil-consuming regions and to a large extent depends on transit via other countries, which poses certain risks and creates obstacles for long-term planning of exports.

Third, there is a need for strengthening the relations and developing cooperation with neighbor countries. To maintain the balance of interests, especially when it concerns the oil and gas sector that is of key importance for Kazakhstan economy, is crucial for the country geographically located between two world leaders. One of them, possessing significant share of the world's mineral resources, strives for developing its own exports, the other, with its growing economy making it desperate for energy resources, is behaving the contrary way by increasing oil and gas imports.

This situation explains the logic of the Kazakhstan government's policy for the development of export options. To put it more precisely, Kazakhstan is basing its approach on the flexible "principle of "multivector" export options and maximum effectiveness of using the existing transport systems."

At present, under this principle Kazakhstan is working out several oil transportation projects that deal with both developing the traditional export outlets and creating new oil export routes.

Exports via Russia

Russia traditionally has been the major option for delivering Kazakh oil to Europe. Oil supplies via Russia have been growing steadily after the Caspian Pipeline Consortium's (CPC) pipeline was put into operation in 2001. 

Lately, the prospects for the expansion of the CPC pipeline's capacity have been attracting much attention from the oil experts.

The pipeline was built to transport Tengiz oil and Karachaganak gas condensate to Russian oil-loading terminal in Novorossiysk and today holds the biggest share of Kazakhstan's oil exports. CPC intends to expand the throughput capacity of the pipeline to 67 million tons a year.

Growing oil exports via the CPC pipeline undoubtedly have positive effect for all parties involved - the states' budgets get more revenues, the market is better off by getting the quality CPC blend, and oil companies take advantage of the cost-efficient outlet that gets their oil directly to the Black Sea coast.

It's no surprise that such a mixture of interests have been causing disputes among CPC shareholders, which threatened the future expansion of the pipeline's capacity. Driven by such vagueness in the project's prospects, in 2005 Tengizchevroil, the largest oil supplier for the pipeline, started looking at other options for getting its oil out of the field. Fortunately, today those problems seem to be solved. CPC participants have come to the agreement on virtually all conditions of the pipeline's capacity expansion.

In the end of March 2005, the representatives of the Kazakh and Russian governments were directed to agree and sign the memorandum on the capacity expansion project. Now it's very much certain that the memorandum will be finalized and signed in the nearest future.

There is one more existing export pipeline project that is also often asked about. The Atyrau-Samara pipeline is currently the second largest export outlet that provides for delivering Kazakh oil via Russian pipelines to Europe as well as to the Black Sea and Baltic Sea ports.

The pipeline has been transporting about 15 million tons of Kazakh oil annually for the last several years. Kazakhstan and Russia expressed their intention to expand the capacity of this pipeline to 20-25 million tons a year.

Despite both parties' interest in the expansion project and some developments such as the feasibility study prepared for the Kazakhstan section of the pipeline and the agreement to prepare similar study for the Russian part of the project, there is still some degree of uncertainty as to the prospects of the future expansion. As for any interstate pipeline, the Atyrau-Samara project's further progress depends on the provision of guarantees concerning the minimal quantity of oil to be pumped as well as the required transit capacity and the issue is still pending.

The Chinese Option

The official history of the Kazakhstan-China Pipeline project traces back to 1997 when the first agreement was signed by the governments of Kazakhstan and China, which mentioned he pipeline. This project signified the new era for the development of the economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and China and contributed greatly to the strengthening of the relations between the two countries.

Now the Kazakhstan government's plan to utilize the Chinese option is becoming a reality. Filling of the Atasu-Alashankou oil pipeline - the first stage of the Kazakhstan-China pipeline - today is almost over. Oil supplies to China via the pipeline will supposedly start in mid-2006.

The Atasu-Alashankou pipeline project was moving at a rapid pace from the very beginning - the construction of the 960-kilometer pipeline capable of pumping 10 million tons of oil a year lasted only 14.5 months. The official ceremony for the start of the pipeline filling took place on December 15, 2005 - precisely according to the schedule. The culmination of the ceremony was the activation of the pump by President Nazarbayev who, by doing so, opened the first pipeline "gate" to China in the former Soviet

Union area.

The question is where the oil for the pipeline will come from?

First, the pipeline will use the oil from the Kumkol field developed by PetroKazakhstan that was acquired by the Chinese last year. Atasu-Alashankou pipeline is considered the best transportation option for the Kumkol oil in terms of exports to China.

One more Chinese-controlled company - CNPC-Aktobemunaigaz - developing the Kenkiyak field in Aktobe region officially declared that it would deliver one million tons of its oil annually by rail to Atasu to load the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline.

Russian companies also have shown their interest in using the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline for West Siberian oil supplies to China. Such supplies would be possible with the use of the Omsk-Pavlodar-Shymkent oil pipeline standing idle at the moment.

Being in charge of loading the Kazakhstan-China pipeline, CNPC has already had some negotiations on this matter with Russian oil companies and got some support on their side. Nevertheless, there is still not much certainty as to whether Russian oil will go into the pipeline -the issue needs to be worked out with Transneft.

On December 15, during the official ceremony of commissioning the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline, President Nazarbayev set the objective for the project's next stage - to construct the Kenkiyak-Kumkol pipeline that will connect Kazakhstan's eastern pipeline system with the western one. The 

Kazakhstan's policy for the development of oil export options Is based on a number of factors including economic, strategic, and political considerations new pipeline thus will make it possible to transport oil produced in West Kazakhstan across the entire country to the Chinese border.

In addition to the Kenkiyak-Kumkol pipeline, the second stage will require implementing several more tasks: modernization of the existing Kumkol-Karakoin-Atasu pipeline facilities, reconstruction of the Kenkiyak-Atyrau pipeline to allow reverse pumping, and expansion of the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline capacity to 20 million tons a year. Currently, the study part for the second stage envisions preparation of the combined feasibility study that will consider the current situation with the project's resource base, materials and equipment costs, and the cost of the existing facilities modernization.

Across the Caspian Sea to Baku and to Ceyhan

In addition to pipelines, the development of the oil export options covers transportation across the Caspian Sea. Given that by 2010, the Kashagan field possibly will be producing 50 to 60 million tons of oil, Kazakhstan will need a new transportation system that will be capable of carrying this oil out of the field to world markets.

The new system is expected to include a new pipeline to be built from Atyrau to the new Kuryk terminal that will load oil to tankers. The tankers will ship the oil to Baku for loading it into the newly built Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Initially, the new system should be capable of handling five million tons of oil annually. Later, the system's throughput capacity should be raised to 38 million tons a year.

The terms and conditions for this project will be stipulated in the Kazakh-Azeri agreement on the facilitation and support of the oil transportation across the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan's territory. The agreement is currently being developed by the governments and state oil companies of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and the companies participating in the Kashagan project. At present, there are only a few minor technical issues left in the agreement's finalization process; therefore there is a good chance that Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan will sign the agreement soon.

Kazakhstan’s policy for the development of oil export options is based on a number of factors including economic, strategic, and political considerations

Other possible options

It's in the interests of Kazakhstan to watch closely all the oil transportation options proposed. Of course, the decision about using a certain option should come after a careful examination of its parameters and all possible factors and risks should be considered.

With this approach in mind, Kazakhstan, in addition to the options mentioned above, is studying, or considering the possibility of participating in, several export pipeline projects that are currently at different development stages.

KazMunaiGas, Total, Japan National Oil Corporation, and Inpex are currently conducting the study examining the prospects for the construction of the Kazakhstan-lran-Turkmenistan oil pipeline. This option could be a good alternative for diversifying Kazakh oil exports in the long-term.

KazMunaiGas is also examining the possibility of entering the projects dealing with prospective oil supplies to Europe. These include the Odessa- Brody-Plock pipeline project developed by Ukraine and Poland and supported by the European Union as well as several pipeline projects aimed at bypassing the Turkish straits with Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline recently becoming the most active one.

Taking into account the current status of these projects, the answer to the question whether Kazakhstan will participate in any of them is quite simple - the decision on using these options will be made only after a careful examination of their parameters that are still to be clarified.