The Kazakh Kazmortransflot is planning to purchase two oil tankers with a deadweight of 8,000 tons for use on the Caspian Sea to supply oil to Azerbaijan, bypassing Russia, Kommersant reports.
The purchase will increase Kazmortransflot's fleet to five ships, including the "Astana," "Aktau," and "Almaty" tankers, each with a deadweight of 12,400 tons. The shallow depths of the Caspian Sea require small vessels for transportation.
Kazakhstan is seeking to diversify its export supplies, which currently relies on Russia for 80% of its transportation. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium and the Atyrau-Samara pipeline are the primary routes for transportation, but deliveries through the CPC stopped in 2022, prompting Kazakhstan to look for alternative routes.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline is one option, but Kazakhstan must transport oil to it by tankers along the Caspian Sea. In 2023, Kazmunaigaz and Azerbaijani SOCAR plan to send 1.5mn tons of oil from the Tengiz field in this area.
Kommersant sources suggest that the Kazakh government is discussing the possibility of increasing supplies through BTC to 20mn tons per year, but this is hindered by long-term contracts with the CPC and the unattractive economics of transportation.
Increasing deliveries through BTC requires significant investments in expanding the port of Aktau, deepening the bottom of the Caspian Sea, and increasing the capacity of the pipeline, which could cost several tens of billions of dollars.