Russia Expands Fuel Exports to Central Asia, Afghanistan and Mongolia in 2023
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Russia Expands Fuel Exports to Central Asia, Afghanistan and Mongolia in 2023

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InIn 2023, Central Asian nations, Afghanistan, and Mongolia increased their intake of Russian fuel by approximately 28%, reaching nearly 6 million metric tons. This surge partly compensated for the reduction in Russian fuel supplies to Europe, a move driven by strained relations over the Ukraine conflict. Russia, amidst deteriorating ties, significantly curtailed its exports of commodities, including oil and gas, to Europe. Notably, the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan doubled its procurement of Russian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to 103,850 tons, while gasoline exports from Russia to Afghanistan tripled to 325,000 tons in 2023, as per industry data.

Although Russia has not officially acknowledged the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan, it swiftly initiated communication and secured business agreements with the group shortly after it regained power in 2021. A year later, Afghanistan and Russia entered into a deal covering gasoline, diesel, gas, and wheat supplies, facilitated by Moscow providing the Taliban administration with a discount based on average global commodity prices. This marked the first significant international economic agreement made by the Taliban since its return to power.

Fuel shipments from Russia to Central Asia are primarily conducted through railways, with pipeline exports of diesel making up approximately 9% of the total deliveries to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft reported a 29.3% increase in fuel supplies to Central Asia in 2023, reaching 530,000 tons. Traders and industry data reveal that Russian gasoline exports to Central Asia, Mongolia, and Afghanistan surged by a third last year, totaling 2.441 million tons. Diesel supplies to these markets rose by 26% to 2.943 million tons, while jet fuel deliveries increased by 21% to 554,000 tons. 

Fuel oil exports saw a significant jump to 719,500 tons, and both bitumen and LPG deliveries doubled to 500,000 tons and 469,000 tons, respectively. Mongolia was the primary recipient of Russian motor fuel, importing 708,000 tons of gasoline via railways, marking a 12% increase. Additionally, its diesel purchases rose by 39% to 1.222 million tons.

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