ASTANA, (Reuters) – Kazakhstan, the largest oil producer in Central Asia, plans to retain its crude export duty at a maximum $40 per tonne until at least 2014, Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev said on Saturday.
“The issue of raising the export tariff will not be examined within the three-year budget,” Zhamishev told reporters after a government meeting to review Kazakhstan’s 2012-2014 budget plan.
His comments echo those of Economy Minister Kairat Kelimbetov, who told Reuters in May that the government had no plans to revise the oil duty before 2014 as it did not wish to “overload” tax payers.
Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest economy, has doubled crude output over the past decade to become the second-biggest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia. It produced 79.5 million tonnes of oil and gas condensate in 2010.
Foreign oil companies control a significant proportion of crude production in Kazakhstan, which holds slightly more than 3 percent of the world’s recoverable oil reserves.
The Chevron-led Tengizchevroil venture is the country’s largest oil producer, while Chinese companies control nearly a quarter of output.
Export duties were first introduced in May 2008 as oil prices approached record highs, before being withdrawn again in January 2009 after crude prices plunged.
The government reintroduced a duty on crude exports last year at $20 per tonne, before doubling the tariff to $40 from Jan. 1, 2011.
Kelimbetov reiterated the government’s plan to foster annual economic growth of at least 7 percent between 2012 and 2014, based on an average oil price of $80 a barrel in 2012 and $70 over the period from 2013 to 2016.
He said the government planned to reduce the budget deficit to 460.2 billion tenge ($3.1 billion), or 1.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), by 2014 versus a forecast 758.5 billion tenge, or 2.6 percent of GDP, in 2012.
The government also plans to keep annual inflation within its previously stated target range of 6 percent to 8 percent.