Kyrgyzstan's fuel market is suffering a crisis, President of the Association of Oil Traders Oleg Zobara said at a press conference.
The problems were caused by the forced shutdown of PetroKazakhstan Oil Products, a subsidiary of Canada's PetroKazakhstan, the official supplier of fuel and lubricants in Kyrgyzstan, and an increase in demand on the domestic market.
Zobara said the shortage arose because the Kazakh company refused to meet its obligations. Kyrgyz company Munai Myrza Opt paid PetroKazakhstan Oil Products $3 million in early November for future shipments of 32,000 tons of fuel, which would have supplied the Kyrgyz market for six weeks. But the Kazakh company has not begun shipments, he said.
Fuel prices at the pump in Kyrgyzstan grew 35% from November 3 - 18 as a result, Prices for Ai-80 gasoline, which makes up 85% of the market, grew 29.6% from 14.2 som per liter to 18.4 som. Zobara said this was the first time prices had risen so much in the past 10 months.
Zobara said Kazakhstan is also experiencing a fuel shortage. PetroKazakhstan Oil products was ordered to stop exporting and supply the domestic market.
Munai Myrza Opt Chairman of the Board Omurbek Babanov said the company has signed an agreement with Russia's Omsk Oil Refinery to ease the shortage. Shipments have already begun and totaled 12,000 tons in 12 days.
The Association of Oil Traders includes 11 of the 26 companies that supply fuel and lubricants to Kyrgyzstan. It accounts for 50% of gasoline shipments and 16% of diesel shipments.
Kyrgyzstan imported 155,676 tons of gasoline in the first 10 months of the year and 54,353 tons of diesel, which was more than imported in all of 2002.
Interfax, November 27, 2003