Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft wants to boost its supplies of oil to China through Kazakhstan to as much as 18 million tonnes (360,000 bpd) per year from around 10 million tonnes in 2017, industry sources told Reuters.
Such a big increase may significantly drain flows of Urals blend to Europe at a time when Russian oil output has been reduced as part of a global pact to support prices.
“(Rosneft’s head Igor) Sechin would like to boost oil supplies to China to 13 million tonnes per year with a possibility of further increase to 18 million tonnes,” a source familiar with Rosneft’s plans said, adding that there has been no decision yet at government level.
He didn’t specify when the increase was likely to happen. “This would mean significant oil supplies cuts to Europe,” the source added.
Two other oil industry sources confirmed the plans.
The bulk of oil supplies to China by Rosneft go via the Pacific port of Kozmino at the end of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, some via the pipeline’s special spur to China and the remains via Kazakhstan and railway.
Kazakhstan’s energy ministry said Rosneft has not officially applied for an increase in transit volumes to China.
Currently, the supplies are made through Atasu - Alashankou pipeline, the capacity of which has already been upgraded to 20 million tonnes, according to the ministry, while between 2 and 3 million tonnes are used for Kazakstan’s own exports to China.
“The necessity of further pipeline expansion would also depend on the level of volumes as well as the time frame of guaranteed supplies, oil transportation tariff, etc,” the ministry said.
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