Kazakhstan's KMG Starts Shipping Oil Via Caspian Sea to BTC Pipeline

(Reuters) — Kazakhstan's state Kazmunaigaz (KMG) has started shipping oil to the BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) pipeline in Azerbaijan, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, as it seeks alternatives to exporting via Russian ports.

Kazakhstan exports most of its oil via Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline, which terminates in southern Russia.

However, Kazakh producers have started testing other routes after several interruptions to the CPC last year amid Russia's standoff with the West over Ukraine.

Tengizchevroil (TCO), Kazakhstan's largest oil venture, has already shipped oil to Georgia's port of Batumi.

KMG started shipping oil from Kazakhstan's Caspian Sea port of Aktau to the Sangachal terminal in Azerbaijan for onward distribution via BTC pipeline on March 22, the sources said.

Some 10,000 tonnes of oil were loaded on the vessel Heydar Aliyev.

KMG will have to do several shipments via the route to provide enough oil for a full export cargo of BTC Blend, normally of at least 80,000 tonnes.

KMG has a share of the giant Tengiz oilfield in Kazakhstan, which is operated by TCO.

It was initially expected to start supplies via the BTC pipeline in February, but the plan was delayed by an earthquake in Turkey, where the pipeline ends.

KMG did not immediately respond to a request for comment. TCO declined to comment.

Chevron holds a 50% stake in TCO, Exxon Mobil owns 25%, Kazmunaigaz holds 20% and 5% belongs to Russia's Lukoil.

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