Russian Court Orders Halt to Caspian Oil Pipeline, but Exports Still Flow

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Russian Court Orders Halt to Caspian Oil Pipeline, but Exports Still Flow

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 09:09
Court gavel on the Russian flag (© Shutterstock/Serhii Yevdokymov)
Court gavel on the Russian flag (© Shutterstock/Serhii Yevdokymov)

A Russian court has ordered the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), one of the world’s largest pipelines that take oil from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea, to suspend its activities for 30 days, adding to global concern over oil supplies.

CPC, which hands around 1% of global oil and includes Exxon and Chevron, said the ban on its operations concerned issues related to paperwork handling of oil spills and that it had to abide by the ruling. An oil spill occurred at the terminal last year.

Tengizchevroil, partly owned by Chevron, said it had sought clarification from the CPC on the ruling and the next step.

According to three industry sources, oil supplies from the oil fields in Kazakhstan to the consortium pipeline were still flowing as of Wednesday, June 6.

Any disruption to the CPC would add to the global concern over oil markets currently facing one of the worst supply strains since the 1970s Arab oil embargo.

CPC suspension to add to oil woes

CPC revealed it had appealed the ruling at a court in the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, requesting a suspension of the ruling to stoppage that would lead to irreversible consequences for the pipeline equipment.

The CPC pipeline has been in the spotlight since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, which has led to an oil price spike due to restricted Russian export. The US and some European countries have imposed sanctions on Russian oil but said flow from Kazakhstan through Russia would continue uninterrupted. The EU plans to wean itself off dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027.

As of Wednesday, July 6, oil prices were up more than 1% at around $104 per barrel due to supply concerns.

Moscow has already reduced gas flow through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that transports Russian gas to Germany and other European countries. The gas pipeline has been operating at 40% due to a dispute over its repairs.

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