MOSCOW (MRC) -- Kazakhstan Railways will ban transportation of oil products to the Russian Black Sea port of Taman starting from May 8, according to a document from the state-owned railway operator seen by Reuters .
No reasons for the ban were disclosed in the document, which was issued to cargo shippers. Traders said the terminal continued to handle oil products and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Russian Railways has also restricted rail deliveries to Taman starting from Wednesday this week until further notice after Russian officials said a fuel depot had caught fire near a crucial bridge linking mainland Russia to Crimea.
Taman's oil transhipment hub, which lies across the Kerch Strait from Crimea, at the mouth of the Azov Sea and Black Sea, has the capacity to handle 20 million tons of crude oil, oil products and LPG a year. In 2022, it handled 7.3 million tons of oil products from Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
The port of Taman boosted exports of oil products in the first quarter by 15% from the same period in 2022 to 2.775 million tons, according to port sources. Kazakhstan's exports via Taman last year reached over 1 million tons of fuel oil, around 230,000 tons of LPG and some 74,000 tons of vacuum gasoil.
Three traders said the Tanamneftegaz terminal continued transhipment of oil products and LPG. "Taman is working, the transhipment of heavy (petroleum products) and LPG has been resumed, there is no ban on exports from Kazakhstan until May 8," a trader said after operations were temporarily suspended after the incident on Wednesday.
"There is an accumulation of rail cars on the approaches to the port, but we hope that by May 8 the situation will stabilize, the ban will be lifted."
We remind, Russia has become India's largest crude supplier, displacing erstwhile OPEC+ ally Saudi Arabia, with India's April imports from the kingdom dropping to the lowest since September 2021. Russian crude is also winning against Saudi oil in China, with April arrivals of 2.10 million bpd beating out the 1.73 million bpd from the Middle East's top exporter.