TE33A locomotive operated by Kazakhstan's national railway KTZ.

KAZAKHSTAN: US oil giant Chevron is considering restarting rail export of crude from its Tengiz oil field.

Speaking at the Barclays CEO-Energy Power Conference on September 7, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said continuing problems with exports via the CPC pipeline through Russia to the Black Sea port of Novorossyisk were forcing the company to look at other options.

‘We’ve used railcars before’, he said. ‘It can be done. It costs a little bit more, but for many years, we’ve shipped a lot of oil via rail out of that area.’

He said the government of Kazakhstan has indicated that it wants to ‘evaluate other routes including getting across the Caspian Sea into Baku and Azerbaijan’.

According to a Chevron company report from 2011 when it used rail, at that time the company was exporting around 15 million tonnes/year of crude via two western routes to Ukraine. Around 5 million tonnes were also going via the Kazakh port of Aktau and then by tanker to Azerbaijan and then pipeline to either the Georgian port of Supsa or Turkey’s Mediterranean oil terminal at Ceyhan.