- Russia has forced the Caspian oil pipeline to suspend activity for a month, according to Reuters.
- The suspension comes in response to alleged oil spillages committed by the CPC.
- Energy markets are facing a crisis, with the EU fearing Russia will totally cut off gas supplies.
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Russia has ordered the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), which transports oil from Kazakhstan to the Black Sea, to suspend operations for 30 days, potentially cutting another 1 million barrels from Europe when the continent is already mired in an energy crisis.
The CPC is one of the world's largest pipelines, handling 1% of global oil. The organisation said the forced shutdown relates to breached environmental regulations, specifically oil spillages, Reuters reported. It added that it submitted an appeal to the court in the Russian town of Novorossiysk to request that the suspension be lifted.
The move could weigh heavily on Kazakhstan, which transports 80% of its energy exports via the CPC, as per Bloomberg. The nation is now scrambling to find another way to get oil to Europe, which has taken blow after blow during the ongoing energy war.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, the West rapidly imposed sanctions on the country's energy exports in an effort to punish it for its unprecedented aggression. That has contributed to surging oil prices across the EU due to reduced supply, and has been a key driver of high levels of inflation that have stung the US economy in recent months.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Thursday said that his government should look to diversify its oil supply routes following the halt, as per Reuters.
Russia recently stoked tensions with the West when the state-owned gas giant, Gazprom,cut gas flows to Germany via the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 60% from last month. It also halted gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in April, after the two countries refused to pay in rubles.
European countries have drafted emergency plans in the event that Russia completely turns off its gas supply to the region. Countries like Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Austria have signaled a shift to coal as a backup plan in case the situation with Russia escalates.