Friday, August 17, 2012 -
Russia has agreed to increase the volume of duty-free petroleum products to Kyrgyzstan by 30 percent this year, the head of the Kyrgyz oil traders association said Friday.
Zhumakadyr Akeneev, president of the Association of Oil Traders of Kyrgyzstan, said Russia will supply a further 700,000 tons of petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) to the Central Asian state in 2012.
The two sides had earlier agreed the supply of 300,000 tons of POL this year.
The tiny Kyrgyz republic received 850,000 tons of tax-free Russian fuel and lubricants in 2011.
Aside from that amount, smugglers managed to wangle a whopping 200,000-250,000 tons of illegal petroleum products across the shared border from northern neighbor Kazakhstan last year, the Avesta.tj news agency reported Akeneev as saying.
Kyrgyz authorities were worried that the excessive smuggling would endanger their agreement with Russia on the provision of the duty-free fuel.
In response, Kyrgyzstan tightened control of its border in July, he noted, adding that the country will need no more than 1.1 million tons of fuel, including stock in hand.
Much of the fuel is required for the country’s heavy industries and agricultural sector, while an amount will be added to the national POL reserve.
In related news, Tajikistan’s leaders said discussions with Russia over fuel imports would resume later in the fall. Russia imposed an export duty on fuel to Tajikistan in May, prompting the wave of smugglers to covertly bring fuel from Kyrgyzstan.