Kazakhstan’s biggest oil field adjusts output because of unrest

Kazakhstan’s biggest oil producer has altered output at the giant Tengiz oil field amid unrest and protests in the country.

“There has been a temporary adjustment to output due to logistics,” Tengizchevroil, the field’s operator, said in a statement. It added that “a number of contractor employees” had gathered at the field in support of the protests across Kazakhstan.

The company, known as TCO, declined to provide further details on the size of the output adjustment, though it said that production operations were continuing. TCO is a joint venture led by Chevron Corp. that pumps about a third of Kazakhstan’s oil. 

A jump in fuel prices sparked protests this week in the west of the Central Asian country. The initial unrest quickly spread and escalated into anti-government demonstrations, and dozens of protesters have been killed by security forces, according to police. Russia and its allies have dispatched troops to help quell the unrest, which poses the biggest threat to Kazakhstan’s leadership since its independence in 1991.

TCO needs a key oil pipeline through Russia to continue operating so that flows from the Tengiz field can be maintained. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which operates the link, said in a statement earlier Thursday that the line is “operating normally” after the introduction of a state of emergency by the president of Kazakhstan the previous evening.

Kazakhstan is a member of the OPEC+ alliance that is gradually adding oil back to the market, following supply cuts. The country pumped about 1.88 million barrels of crude and condensate a day in December, according to Bloomberg calculations from government data.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

This article is brought to you by the Bloomberg newswire. 

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