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20 November | Trade

Russia lifts restrictions on gasoline exports 

Maksim Konstantinov. Credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, one month after removing bans on most of its diesel exports, the country’s Energy Ministry said on 17 November. 

The government cited a surplus of supply, combined with a drop in wholesale prices for the decision, Reuters reports. It added that restrictions on exports could be reimposed if necessary and that the country’s reserves of gasoline had risen by approximately two million tonnes. 

“Over the past two months, while maintaining high volumes of oil refining… saturation of the domestic market has been ensured and a surplus in the supply of motor gasoline has been created, including in the exchange sales channel,” the ministry said. “A decision was made to terminate the temporary ban on the export of motor gasoline.” 

Russia first introduced a ban on fuel exports on 21 September in an attempt to cope with high domestic prices and supply shortages. 

17 October | Conflict

LNG prices spike more than 40% amid Israel-Palestine war 

Liquified natural gas (LNG) spot prices have increased by more than 40% to $18.345 per one million British thermal units (/MMBtu) since the Israel-Palestine war on 7 October.  

According to reports, geopolitical concerns have filtered through the oil and gas markets. Some LNG buyers in North Asia have paused plans to acquire additional fuel for winter since the attacks in the Middle East, risking supply and boosting global prices.  

Asian spot LNG shipments, as of 13 October, were offered at a range of high-$10s/MMBtu, according to traders, the highest level in around eight months. 

On 9 October, the Israeli Energy Ministry shut down gas production in its Tamar platform operated by Chevron due to the attacks from both sides, limiting supplies from the region. The Tamas gas field produced 10.25 billion cubic metres in 2022, with most used domestically and 15% exported to Egypt and Jordan.  

13 November | Conflict

Kazakhstan to transport more Russian oil and gas 

Kazakhstan will transport more Russian oil and gas, the country’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, told Russian daily newspaper Izvestia on 8 November, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Central Asian nation. 

The Kazakh leader appeared to be warming to the idea of a “gas union” with Russia, which would also involve Uzbekistan. Putin proposed this idea last year, with a Kremlin spokesman last year commenting that it would satisfy the “need for synchronization”, since all three countries sell natural gas. A union would involve support to shipments between the three nations as well as to outside energy buyers such as China. 

On Wednesday, Tokayev said: “We are interested in making full use of our transit potential and are ready to further increase the volume of Russian gas transportation.” 

Kazakhstan is looking to shore up its energy supplies after a huge increase in gas prices last year caused civil unrest across its major cities.  

3 October | Trade

Turkey to reopen oil pipeline with Iraq 

Turkey will reopen an oil pipeline to Iraq this week after it was suspended for around six months. 

Alparslan Bayraktar, Turkey’s Energy Minister, said on Monday at the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi: “Within this week, we will start operating the Iraq–Turkey pipeline after resuming operations. It will be able to supply half a million barrels, almost, to global oil markets.” 

In March 2023, Turkey stopped flows through the twin pipeline after the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration ordered Ankara to pay around $1.5bn (Tl41.16bn) in damages to Iraq for transporting oil without Baghdad’s approval. Turkey wants the fine to be reduced. 

The arbitration case has been running in the Paris-based court for almost nine years, with Iraq claiming that Turkey had violated the 1973 pipeline transit agreement by allowing crude from the Kurdish region to be exported without Baghdad’s permission. 

9 November | Trade

Hungary claims energy policy is practical, not political 

Hungary’s gas supply strategy is dictated by infrastructure rather than politics or ideology, according to Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto. At a conference on 8 November, he denied that the country is aligning more with Russia on gas matters as part of a political strategy. 

He claimed the country’s gas procurement is constrained by existing infrastructure, saying “you can’t transport gas in a backpack” at the Romanian International Gas Conference 2023. 

In October, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Hungary has never wanted to oppose Russia and is trying to salvage bilateral contacts. As part of this, Hungary resisted EU sanctions on Russia; in September 2022, Orban said he could not agree to the EU’s eight rounds of sanctions as they included energy sanctions. Gazprom also said it would extend its supplies of gas to Hungary in the upcoming winter.