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Russian Court Suspends Kazakh Oil Pipeline's Operations

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS

A court in southern Russia has ordered the suspension of operations of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), a major exporter of oil from Kazakhstan, the company confirmed Wednesday. 

The CPC pipeline’s work will be halted for 30 days due to “irregularities in paperwork guiding elimination of oil spill emergencies” that were uncovered by a government inspection in May, the company cited the Novorossiysk court as saying.

While the CPC maintains it had until Nov. 30 to address the irregularities, Rostransnadzor, Russia's state transportation watchdog, went ahead with a court appeal demanding the halt of CPC’s operations.

The company has vowed to will appeal the ruling. 

Oil exports from the CPC terminal near Novorossiysk continued Wednesday despite the announcement, Reuters reported, citing industry sources. 

About 90% of oil exported through the CPC pipeline is supplied by companies operating in western Kazakhstan, including the Tengiz, Kashagan and Karachaganak oil projects.  

The suspension comes amid global worries over rising oil prices and calls for Western countries to stop importing Russian oil, both of which have been exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine.

The Consortium’s work has been interrupted several times since the start of Russia’s invasion in February.

In March, Kazakh oil exports to Europe were limited after a storm allegedly damaged two mooring units used by the CPC near Novorossiysk.  

An independent investigation by Germany’s Handelsblatt business newspaper and investigators at Correctiv said the Russian government likely faked the damage or deliberately delayed fixing the problem to inflict pressure on the European market. 

Kazakhstan’s government on Wednesday reportedly gathered for an emergency meeting to decide on measures aimed at minimizing the damage from the suspension of CPC’s operations.

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