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Kazakhstan to expand oil pipeline to China

19th September 2013

The Atasu-Alashankou section of the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline will transport 20 million metric tonnes a year by the end of 2013

The section will be expanded to 20 million mtpy of oil by year’s end

Kazakhstan announced on Wednesday it will expand the Atasu-Alashankou section of the Kazakhstan-China pipeline ahead of plans to increase its throughput to meet the country’s increasing energy needs.


The Atasu-Alashankou section will be expanded from 12 million metric tonnes per year (mtpy) to 20 million mtpy of oil by year’s end. This beats previous government capacity estimates of 14 million mtpy by late-2014 and 20 million mtpy by the end of 2015.


“We have built two additional pumping stations at the Atasu-Alashankou section, and this section will be able to carry up to 20 million mtpy by year-end,” news agency Platts, quoted Kazakhstan’s energy minister Uzakbay Karabalin as saying at a media briefing.


“We need to grow the capacity of the remaining sections... and expect the whole route from Atyrau to Alashankou to reach a 20 million mtpy capacity from 2015," he added.


The government still expects  volumes running through the whole Kazakhstan-China pipeline to reach 20 million mt/year by 2015.


The pipeline route starts in the western Kazakh city of Atyra and passes through the city of Atasu towards Alashankou and into China's northwestern Xinjiang province. After that, it joins Chinese oil firm CNPC’s pipeline network.


Technology suppliers in the west have been awarded contracts to further the pipeline’s potential. Global engineering and construction company Ergil will supply its pig handling systems to increase the pipeline’s capacity, while British power systems company Rolls-Royce signed a USD 175m contract to provide gas turbine pipeline compressor units for use in the pipeline.


Khazakhstan has also been in talks with Russia for its crude oil to run through the pipeline to supply China’s growing energy needs. Volumes of around 7 million mtpy would be supplied to CNPC under the terms of a USD 270bn 25-year deal with Russian firm Rosneft signed in June. Supplies are expected reach 30 million mtpy by 2018.