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Russia asks Kazakhstan for emergency fuel supply

Russia has requested that Kazakhstan be ready to provide it with 100,000 tonnes of gasoline in the event of shortages, sources told Reuters on April 8, as Ukrainian drone strikes have disrupted fuel supply from some refineries.

An agreement on Russia accessing the fuel reserves has already been reached, according to Reuters. But neither country’s government has commented yet on the report. Russia’s western neighbour Belarus has already committed to assist it with gasoline supply.

Reuters reported on March 27 that Russia has significantly increased its gasoline imports from Belarus following Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil refineries and that Russia has imported 3,000 tonnes of gasoline from Belarus in the first half of March as compared to 590 metric tons in February and no gasoline imports in January.

“Recent Russian efforts to import gasoline from Belarus and Kazakhstan indicate that Russia is likely increasingly concerned about the immediate domestic supply of distillate petroleum products following Ukrainian strikes on Russian oil refineries,” the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in a note on April 8.

Some 14% of Russian primary oil refining was offline as of the end of March, following a spate of drone attacks on refineries. Authorities say the situation on the domestic fuel market is stable and that there are sufficient stockpiles at hand.

Russia is typically a net exporter of gasoline, but an increase in the frequency and impact of drone strikes on refineries over the past three months led the government to impose a six-month ban on the export of the fuel from March 1. That ban does not apply to supplies to other countries inside the Eurasian Economic Union, including Kazakhstan.

The ban could be extended to more markets if the situation in Russia gets worse, however, Reuters reported. In addition to the drone strikes, widespread flooding last week caused the Orsk oil refinery in the Russian Urals to halt production.

The flooding has also affected Kazakhstan, which has halted its fuel exports until the end of this year.

According to Reuters’ sources, Kazakhstan’s reserves of AI-92 gasoline totalled 307,700 tonnes as of April 5, while its stockpile of AI-95 gasoline came to 58,000 tonnes. Diesel and jet fuel reserves stood at 435,300 and 101,000 tonnes respectively.

Russia appears to have managed to restore facilities to production within days or weeks of drone strikes, although the sheer frequency is a growing problem. Ukraine is mass-producing cheap drones, and is likely to continue its strikes against Russian oil facilities for the foreseeable future.

Source: BNE