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07.12.2022 Author: Phil Butler

The Kazakhstan Gas Situation: A Key Indicator of Things to Come

The western assault on Russia and other rivals is economic. The military conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere are only symptoms of the competition for the remaining resources that power world economies. This, as well all know, is abundantly clear. A perfect example of how the world is reeling energy-wise can be seen in Kazakhstan’s natural gas situation.

This morning, I read Oil Price’s report about China’s concerns over Kazakhstan’s delivery contracts. The report’s bottom line is that Astana has pledged to limit exports to meet domestic demand. China’s concern is the instability of supply after Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered his government to reduce gas exports and to make sure that an additional 2 billion cubic meters were available to customers inside Kazakhstan.

Oil Price’s news suggests that Kazakhstan’s annual gas deficit on the domestic market could reach around 1.7 billion cubic meters by 2024. The result of such a deficit would mean a halting of export altogether. Exports of natural gas from Kazakhstan have already been reduced tenfold from 10 million cubic meters to 1 million cubic meters. Furthermore, the country is importing 20% more gas than ever.

Meanwhile, Chevron stock has skyrocketed to its highest mark in almost half a century. As I type this, the stock is at $182.49, which is triple what it was at the low of 2020. This is significant as a side note since Chevron is Kazakhstan’s biggest player in the Tengiz field, which was just prioritized by Tokayev. Chevron’s role also hints at another reason the west is hell-bent on stopping Russian gas from reaching Europe.

Energy production shifts demand geometrically by altering supply on a massive scale in one region and already peaked worldwide. The fact that Chevron is also into renewables via the acquisition of Renewable Energy Group is another war for profit indicator. Renewables are being ramped up in an emergency fashion worldwide, and the profit vertices of multinationals are leading the trend. REGI stock is up sixfold to a share price of over $60 per share compared to around $10 back in 2012.

Seeking Alpha is raving through a bullhorn on how Renewable Energy Group is “A Safe Energy Stock Bound To Gain Big.” So, you can see why a protracted conflict with Russia favors the people funding individuals in capitals like Washington and London. America’s Sunoco, HF Sinclair Corporation, Valvoline, PBF Energy, and CVR Energy are neck deep in the profit bonanza off renewables, LNG, refining, and virtually every facet of energy profit coming out of the current geopolitical mess.

Returning to Kazakhstan and the supply situation, it’s important to note that Russia is not losing out because western conglomerates owned by the elites are winning. Last month, President Tokayev and Russian President Vladimir Putin met to discuss creating what has been termed a “tripartite gas union” to include Uzbekistan. The purpose of the union would be to coordinate the delivery of Russian gas to Central Asia and possibly a deeper security alliance. However, it’s clear that western influences are tugging at Kazakhstan to lean toward Washington in order to weaken the Russian led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) already in place. At least, this is the hope expressed by The Jamestown Foundation and other Washington Row think tanks strategizing for the wester elites. Paul Goble suggests the recent meeting between Putin and Tokayev was a failure. Goble, of course, is a mouthpiece for the U.S. State Department, a former Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and probably a CIA academic plant. His take on the Putin-Tokayev meetup, he summed up with this:

“Tokayev did not return directly home as his predecessors might have but rather traveled onward to Paris, thus signaling his desire to develop even better relations with Europe, which is now at odds with Russia over Ukraine. Moreover, even as he was talking with Putin, Tokayev was simultaneously continuing his conversations with China and the United States about expanding relations.”

Getting back to the central issue of energy, supply, and demand, it seems crystal clear that the elites in power in the west are intent on milking the last BTUs of this world for everywhere we are worth. Kazakhstan being unable to supple enough natural gas for 19 million citizens is telling. Furthermore, companies like America’s Chevron gleaning profits from domestic usage so distant from the U.S. is food for thought.

I expect Uzbekistan is in a similar situation, and is under western pressure as well. Though better in-ground resources are much more recoverable than in most of the region, the infrastructure in the country is horrendous. Even so, produces about 60 bcm of natural gas annually. Uzbekistan exports mainly to China, Russia, and to Kazakhstan. So, it seems likely they will pick up part of the slack for Kazakhstan in the near future. On a final note, Chevron is also a major player in the recent opening of the Uzbekistan GTL gas-to-liquids plant in Qashqadaryo Region. I’ll leave the reader to plot the energy war strategies there, but the writing really is on the wall. If the items I’ve presented are not proof enough that the United States and partners are engaged in an energy war, the White House has made the strategy crystal clear. In this October National Security Strategy report (PDF), the Biden Administration frames Ukraine and the rest of the globe as pertains to Central Asia this way:

“Elsewhere in Eurasia, we will continue to support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Central Asia. We will foster efforts to enhance resilience and democratic development in the five countries in this region. We will continue to work through the C5+1 diplomatic platform (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the United States) to advance climate adaptation, improve regional energy and food security, enhance integration within the region, and build greater connectivity to global markets.” 

 

There it is, in no uncertain terms. Companies like Cargill, Chevron, and a host of others are reaping fantastic profits right now because of these Russophobic, aggressive policies designed for one purpose only. To milk the world bone dry by shifting the supply and demand curve. It’s not rocket science, as they say. The question is, will the people ever be able to see the light? Personally, I think that by the time they do it will be too late. We’ll either be paupers all, or in a war the likes of which the galaxy has never seen.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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