Protests in Kazakhstan – potential impacts on global energy markets

Protest in Kazakhstan in January 2022 escalated rapidly. Kazakh, and invited CTSO, armed forces intervened to confront protesters and protect Government buildings. So far these events have not affected export and transit flows of crude oil and gas, and the risk of them doing so is currently judged as low. If it emerges that what has happened has been more or less a coup d’etat and we are seeing the elite rearranging the deck chairs, there will be organisational and personnel changes in Kazakh companies. Influence over the deployment of the oil revenues will be one of the main prizes. Kazakhstan touches global energy markets at two points: directly through 1.3 million barrels/day crude oil exports through the CPC pipeline to the Black Sea; indirectly through the 30 bcma transit flow of Turkmen gas to China, where any disruption might cause China to turn to LNG to compensate. Both global oil and gas markets are currently tight, and the size of these crude oil and gas exports is sufficiently large to mean global markets would move immediately in response to any outage.  The purpose of this OIES Comment is to describe these flows and to put them in context of both global markets and Kazakhstan itself.

By: Julian Bowden