Astana, Kazakhstan, Feb. 14
By Daniar Mukhtarov - Trend:
The prices for fuels and lubricants in Kazakhstan will not increase in the first quarter of 2014, chairman of the Kazakh Agency for Regulation of Natural Monopolies, Murat Ospanov said on Thursday.
He made the remarks at a press briefing at the Central Communications Service of Kazakhstan.
"In case of unreasonable increase in prices for fuels and lubricants at the gas stations, measures will be taken, which will even include fines exceeding one million tenges [about $7000]. More stringent measures will be taken if such facts will be repeated by legal entities or individuals," he said.
In turn, Kazakh Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbai Karabalin said the ministry will maintain the situation regarding the petroleum products' prices under the control.
"In the first quarter we will keep prices for fuels and lubricants. All our oil refineries are working, and they will deliver all products to the domestic market. The export of petroleum products is prohibited. Moreover, as I said before, we have the reserves of oil products in storehouses for one and a half month," Karabalin said.
The minister added that Kazakhstan's storehouses have over 200,000 tons of diesel fuel and about 370,000 tons of gasoline, which will be enough for six weeks.
"But we must not forget that our oil refineries are working in a normal mode and produce goods. And if oil products will be delivered from Russia, and petroleum products will be enough, perhaps there will not be a need to revise the fuels and lubricants prices after 45 days," he said.
The Minister pointed out that Kazakhstan imports 1.69 million tons of fuels and lubricants. Diesel fuel in the volume of 600,000 tons is also imported, in particular from Russia. According to the agreement with Russia, the supply will be realized without loans.
At the same time, according to the minister, the supply of oil products from outside is a voluntary process, and it is unknown what will happen at the market in the next two weeks.
Talks about the increase of costs on fuels and lubricants in Kazakhstan started after the devaluation of the national currency conducted on Feb. 11.
The National Bank of Kazakhstan made a decision not to support the exchange rate of the national currency tenge - at a previous level, reduce the volume of currency interventions and reduce intervention to the process of establishing the exchange rate of tenge.
"The National bank considers that the new exchange rate will be at a range of 185 tenge per dollar," the National Bank reported.
The official exchange rate on Feb. 11 is 155.5/$1.
Translated by E.A. and R.A.
Edited by C.N.