Energy SECURITY 27 December, 2023 7:00 am   
COMMENTS: Joanna Słowińska

Costly oil with a Kazakh label

Remont-Przyjaźń-Białoruś-BELTA Repair of the Friendship Oil Pipeline in Belarus. Picture by BELTA

Belarus has raised the tariff on oil supplies through the Friendship pipeline, including the northern thread, which transports fuel classified as from Kazakhstan to Germany. The increase by almost half prompts a search for a route outside Russia.

The operator of the Belarusian section of the Friendship Homeltransnift oil pipeline increased tariffs on the southern and northern strands of the pipe. The southern section (tariff increase by 14.5 percent) stretches across Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The northern bit (an increase by 43 percent) runs to Poland and Germany, supplying only oil classified as Kazakh to the Germans, because customers from the above countries refused to buy directly from Russia after the invasion on Ukraine.

An increase in the tariff on oil shipments from Kazakhstan by almost half will reduce the attractiveness of this supply route to Germany, which receives the raw material classified as Kazakh, but which may come actually from Russia. The Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan announced that the new tariff will force the country to pay an additional ca. USD 2.64 million to Belarusians in order to pay for the transport of 1.2 million tons of oil to the Schwedt refinery in Germany in 2024.

The Kazakhs wanted to increase supplies to 200,000 tons per month (2.4 million per year), but abandoned this idea precisely because of the risk of an increase in tariffs in Belarus. Kazakhstan has alternative routes in the form of deliveries through oil ports in Aktau and Novorossiysk, Russia. Germany can import Kazakh oil and other types of oil through oil ports in Europe, including Gdańsk, through which Schwedt’s twin refinery – Leuna gets all of its supply.

Kommersant / Wojciech Jakóbik