Black Jackpot: in the last three years Kazakh gangs have stolen oil worth 104 billion tenge

Black Jackpot: in the last three years Kazakh gangs have stolen oil worth 104 billion tenge

For the last three years in Kazakhstan oil to the amount of 104 billion tenge has been stolen, according to the Deputy Attorney-General of Kazakhstan Andrey Lukin. The prosecutor's office spoke at an interregional forum in Aktobe engaging in illicit trafficking of oil.

Lukin considers that real figures are much higher. Law and order agencies in Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries fail to collect the needed information on trans-border traffic of oil and oil products to full proportions, the official confessed.

First of all subsoil users of the country are engaged in suspicious affairs. An analysis of the books of 40 upstream companies working in Kazakhstan has shown that they sell more oil than they produce.

There is a lack of control on oil fields, and output amounts are still being calculated according to outdated, purely administrative methods

Illegal oil is taken out to Kyrgystan, Moldova, Russia and other countries.

In the Aktyubinsk region a criminal case regarding the activities of an organised crime group consisting of 20 people who have been engaged in black trade of black gold is under investigation. Members of an organized criminal group have stolen over 8 thousand tonnes of oil in 2014-2016 from the Kenkiyak field of China’s state company CPNC. At present the Aktyubinsk region’ security services investigate 17 criminal cases connected with ransacking oil deposits and its illegal sale.

“The shadow turnover of oil became a source of financing of activity of separate organised criminal groups, including radical religious ones,” the governor of Aktyubinsk Berdybek Saparbayev region noted.

In early December last year, a number of people suspected of involvement in the theft of oil were detained in Kazakhstan during a special operation, and tankers with oil and oil products have been seized, the country’s National Security Committee reported on December 7.

In addition, several members of a criminal gang, consisting of followers of radical Salafism (an ultra-conservative reform movement within Islam), which provided the so-called criminal protection to the persons engaged in oil theft, had been arrested, according to the security committee.

The special operation was carried out by the National Security Committee jointly with the National Anticorruption Bureau and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan in the Aktobe region, as well as other regions of the country.

The Governor of Aktobe region, Berdybek Saparbayev, has suggested stiffening penalties for illegal sale and/or theft of oil and gas, Kazinform reports.

The head of the region announced this proposal at the interregional forum Problems of Illegal Oil and Gas Sales in Aktobe town.

Opening the forum, Berdybek Saparbayev stressed that the illegal sales of oil and gas are a challenging issue for Kazakhstan including Aktobe region. "It is a matter of national security and stability. Everybody knows the implications of illegal sales of oil and gas: considerable losses of the budget revenue, cash outflow from the country, falling living standards of the population, deterioration of the investment climate. All this endangers the implementation of the state and government programs," the governor emphasized.

There are 29 crude hydrocarbon developers who are now successfully operating in Aktobe region. This year, it is planned to produce 5.9 million tons of crude oil, 6.5 billion cubic meters of gas. According to the Head of State's instruction, the enterprises will invest at least KZT 60 billion to modernize the oil and gas industry within the next five years. This year alone, the regional enterprises will be carrying out 19 geological exploration works.

Currently, the Department of Internal Affairs of Aktobe region is investigating 17 criminal cases related to illegal sale or theft of oil.

"The illegal sale is a financing source for the activities of certain organized criminal groups including radical religious movements," the head of the region said.

In addition, Berdybek Saparbayev announced a number of proposals to confront illegal operations with hydrocarbons. In particular, he announced the initiatives to upgrade penalties for illegal sales of hydrocarbons, establish the Republican working group that would audit the current regulatory and legal framework with regard to illegal sales of oil and gas, and create a centralized data bank for chemical composition of oil produced in all fields of the country to simplify the identification of the source of theft.

Kazakhstan's Deputy Prosecutor General Andrey Lukin, Chief Transport Prosecutor Marat Alikhanov, representatives of the President's Executive Office, the National Security Committee, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Anticorruption Bureau, the Border Guard Service, ministries, prosecutors, and deputy governors of Atyrau, West Kazakhstan, and Mangistau regions are attending the forum.

By Tatyana Tokar for, additional information from Trend (Azerbaijan), Kazinform. Photo