Kazakh Oil Exports Drop in First Half

ALMATY, Kazakhstan --Kazakhstan's crude oil exports fell 2.4 percent year on year to 30.7 million tons in the first half of 2008, still recovering from a sharp decline registered in the first quarter, official data showed Monday.

But oil output rose 5.9 percent to 41.2 million tons in January to July, the State Statistics Agency said.

Kazakhstan and its Central Asian neighbors suffered from extremely cold weather last winter and Uzbekistan reduced natural gas supplies to Kazakhstan as it used more gas for its own heating needs.

Kazakhstan switched some of its heating boilers to fuel oil and boosted its output 38.2 percent in the first quarter. Oil exports fell 6.3 percent in the same period.

The introduction of the oil export duty of $110 per ton in May also affected exports, said Dmitry Alexandrov, an analyst with Russian investment company Financial Bridge.