August 11, 2008

Kazakhstan Suspends Oil Exports Via Georgian Sea Port

Text of report by privately-owned Kazakhstan Today news agency website

Astana, 11 August: Kazakhstan's premier, Karim Masimov, has suggested redirecting the flow of the Kazakh [crude] oil going [to export] via the Georgian sea port of Batumi to domestic consumption. He made this proposal at today's on-phone government meeting, a Kazakhstan Today news agency correspondent reports.

"Let us redirect this [oil] flow to domestic use and resolve this issue along with the Energy Ministry," Masimov said, addressing to the president of the KazMunayGaz [Kazakhstan's Oil and Gas] joint- stock company, Serik Burkitbayev.

Asked by journalists, who wanted to obtain more specific information, whether oil will be exported via this sea port, Burkitbayev said: "No, at the moment".

According to him, the case in point is up to 1m tonnes [of crude oil] a year on average.

Earlier at the meeting, the head of the KazMunayGaz said that according to the latest information, "by this morning no acts of hostility aimed at the Batumi port and the oil terminal owned by Kazakhstan there have been observed".

"So far, the situation there [in Batumi] is not like to that in Poti and other ports," he noted.

At the same time, according to Burkitbayev, as of today, "in line with an order issued by the military administration, we took out of the port all our dry cargo vessels and tankers, which have been filled with oil."

"By this morning we filled up an oil tanker, but right now, all tankers have been taken out [of the port] and we are sending oil to storage," Burkitbayev concluded.

Originally published by Kazakhstan Today news agency website, Almaty, in Russian 0512 11 Aug 08.

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