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Kazakhstan Seeks to Increase Oil Shipments via Azerbaijan

By Vusala Abbasova January 18, 2024

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The Baku-Supsa pipeline, also known as the Western Route Export Pipeline, connects the Sangachal Terminal near Baku to terminal in the Black Sea coastal city of Supsa.

Kazakhstan is in talks with Azerbaijan to increase the flow of its oil through the Baku-Supsa pipeline, with Astana seeking to transport up to three million tons of oil annually through the 833-kilometer-long pipeline.

"The issue is being discussed with the Azerbaijani side to consider the possibility of transporting Kazakh oil via the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline in a volume of up to three million tons per year," the Kazakh Ministry of Energy said, as reported by Interfax on Tuesday.

The Baku-Supsa pipeline, also known as the Western Route Export Pipeline, connects the Sangachal Terminal near Baku to terminal in the Black Sea coastal city of Supsa. It has a capacity of five million tons per year and has been operational since April 1999.

However, recent geopolitical developments in the Black Sea have led the Western companies reroute oil from the pipeline to the much bigger Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline since 2022.

Last year, Azerbaijan offered Kazakhstan to transport five million tons of Kazakh oil through the Baku-Supsa pipeline. If an agreement was reached, oil from the Kashagan field was expected to be transported via this route.

Energy-rich Kazakhstan started exporting its oil via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline since last year. The transportation takes place under a master agreement signed between SOCAR and the Kazakh national energy company KazMunayGas. The agreement enables the transit of 1.5 million tons of oil annually. Both parties agreed to conduct 12-14 tanker voyages between the ports of Baku and Aktau within last year.

BTC pipeline links Sangachal terminal on the shores of the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan marine terminal on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Along with Azerbaijani oil, crude oil from Turkmenistan and some volumes of Tengiz crude oil from Kazakhstan are transported through the BTC pipeline.

According to the reports issued earlier by KazTransOil last year Kazakh oil deliveries via the BTC route increased 5.5 times to 1.39 million tons.

For the past two decades, Kazakh crude oil was primarily transported through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in Russia. However, a Russian court's threat to shut down the CPC pipeline in July 2022 prompted the Kazakh government and major foreign producers to seek alternative routes.