Russian LPG suppliers to resume exports to Afghanistan


Russian producers plan to resume liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplies to Afghanistan in March, rail data in Refinitiv Eikon showed, after they lost traditional westbound routes due to the Ukraine conflict.

Russian producers have not supplied LPG to Afghanistan since mid-2020 amid coronavirus-related restrictions and weak profitability.

The Gas Processing Plant (GPP) in the Russian city of Orenburg owned by Kazrosgaz, the joint venture of Kazakh state-owned Kazmunaigaz and Russia’s Gazprom, plans to ship to Afghanistan 10,000 tonnes of LPG, rail data showed.

Kazrosgaz could not immediately be reached for comment. Kazrosgaz used to ship LPG cargoes from the Orenburg plant by rail mainly to the Ukrainian port of Izmail and to Belarus, but the Ukraine conflict prompted the company to look at alternative routes.

Lukoil’s Permnefteorgsintez and Omskiy Kautschuk plants plan to export to Afghanistan in March more than 10,500 tonnes of LPG, the rail data showed.

Russian rail has banned LPG shipments to Ukraine and Russian Azov Sea and Black Sea ports, which used to handle a large part of LPG exports from Russia and Kazakhstan. LPG exports to Belarus were suspended due to overstocking in the country.

Russian LPG producers considered redirecting LPG volumes to Afghanistan as exports have become more profitable amid falling prices in Russia’s domestic market.

The ex-Intelligence chief of the former government claimed that the First Deputy of the Prime Minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and acting Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob have traveled to Moscow.

Rahmatullah Nabil, former chief of National Directorate of Security made the remarks on Twitter.

“While Mullah (Amir Khan) Mutaqi (acting Foreign Minister) along with a delegation is in Norway, according to the sources, Mullah Yaqoob Omari (acting Defense Minister) has made a secret trip to Russia recently and now Mullah (Abdul Ghani) Baradar (First Deputy of Prime Minister) is also in Russia on unannounced trip,” Nabil said.

The Islamic Emirate neither confirmed nor denied the visit but sources in the northern province of Kunduz said that Mullah Yaqoob appeared at a gathering in the province.

This comes as a delegation of the Islamic Emirate led by acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi is in Oslo for a three-day summit with the Afghan civil society, envoys of European countries and European Union as well as the US.

The spokesmen of the Islamic Emirate have not responded to phone calls by TOLOnews to provide details on the matter.

Meanwhile, some sources in Kunduz said that acting Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob appeared at a gathering of 217 Omari Corps in the province.

“These meetings should be transparent, otherwise there will be a doubt that a foreign country is seeking to pursue its interests in these meetings,” said Toriq Farhadi, a political analyst.

“These talks are very important. It belongs to the related parties, that how important Afghanistan’s interests is for them,” said Sayed Haroon Hashimi, a political analyst.

According to some media reports, Ahmad Massoud, leader of the Resistance Front, Amrullah Saleh, former first vice president of Ashraf Ghani, and Salahuddin Rabbani, leader of Jamiat-e-Islami, have flown to Russia to meet with Mullah Baradar.

But will these meetings be constructive for Afghanistan?

“We are stuck between the East (Russia) and West (US- allies). When a delegation is going to the West another should go to the East to talk,” said Sayed Hakim Kamal, a political analyst.

Moscow earlier announced that it was ready to mediate between the Islamic Emirate and opposition forces.

Earlier, A delegation of the Islamic Emirate led by Muttaqi met with Ahmad Massoud and Ishmail Khan, the former governor of Herat, in a visit to Iran.—Reuters

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