News // Oil and gas worldwide
Kazakhstanis fume over fuel shortage
19 October 2017 , 16:07Neftegaz.RU819
Soaring prices, long lines and disrupted traffic are common sights these October days in Central Asia’s major oil producer.
Gas stations across Kazakhstan are unable to keep up with demand, as the upgrade of one of the country’s refineries, and a disruption in imports from Russia, has led to a nationwide fuel shortage, according to EurasiaNet.
At a government meeting on 10 October, PM Bakytzhan Sagintayev fired a deputy energy minister and a top executive at the state energy firm KazMunayGas for failing to secure stable energy supplies, Reuters reported.
The shortage is so bad that many gas stations are only issuing fuel in exchange for coupons that companies pre-purchase in bulk so their employers can avoid seasonal price spikes.
Gas stations that still accept money are sparse, and motorists’ search for them is causing traffic delays, long lines, and steep price hikes.
The 1st signs of the shortage came at the end of September, when one of the country’s 3 major oil refineries halted production to perform upgrades and maintenance.
While the gap could have been filled by increasing imports from Russia in the interim, the negotiations fell short, leading to a brief interruption in imports which compounded the pressure on the market.
Kazakhstan is Central Asia’s biggest oil exporter and the economy is still heavily resource dependent.
However, while its production capacity is high, iaccording to EurasiaNet, it still relies on Russia to fulfil about 40 % of its domestic needs.
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