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LONDON, July 9 (Itar-Tass) - Kazakhstani national oil and gas corporation KazMunaiGas is pondering a large-scale business expansion into Europe, the company’s CEO Daniyar Berlibayev said in an interview published by The Financial Times Tuesday.
He indicated that the company is boosting its downstream operations and eyeing a greater share of the region’s retail market of oil products.
More specifically, the article says KazMunaiGas has the plan to move into Ukraine and Turkey, and it is eyeing petrol stations, import terminals and distribution points in the two Black Sea littoral countries.
“We are expanding internationally, reaching from the well to the wheel,” Berlibayev said.
According to The Financial Times, the KMG, one of a selected group of fast-growing national oil companies, has become the main vehicle of the Kazakhstani state as it seeks to tighten governmental control of the country’s oil and gas sector.
The newspaper recalls that “in recent years, KMG has muscled in to the international consortiums developing two huge oil and gas fields - Kashagan, the world’s most expensive oil development project in the Caspian Sea, and the onshore Karachaganak.”
KMG has already made tentative efforts to expand internationally in the past, The Financial Time says. “In 2007 it bought Rompetrol, which owns two refineries in Romania and petrol stations in seven European countries.”
Since then, the KMG has invested billions of dollars to upgrade the refineries, enabling them to produce clean Euro-5 class fuels.
In addition, Berlibayev revealed the KMG’s intentions to nearly double its oil reserves from 5.8 billion barrels to 10.3 billion barrels by 2020, in part through a $ 3 bln exploration campaign. He said it will hopefully increase oil production from 420,000 barrels a day at the moment to about 700,000 barrels a day by the end of the current decade.
Berlibayev believes that, on the whole, Kazakhstan could be exporting up to 2.2 million barrels of crude oil a day by the end of the decade, with about 400,000 b/d of that amount going to China and most of the rest to Europe and particularly to the Black Sea markets.
The KMG hopes to refine a large share of these exports at its Romanian facilities. “We want to come to Europe and say - we have 5 million tonnes a year of oil products: who wants to buy it?” he said.
Berlibayev defended the acquisition of Rompetrol in spite of the fact that the demand for oil products, and especially gasoline, has plummeted in Europe in the past few years.
“If we didn’t go downstream, we would only be selling crude oil at the border to Russia and China,” he said. “We want to get into Europe, right to the petrol pump.”