Russia seeking ways to bypass Chechnya

Sep 15, 1997 02:00 AM

Russia is planning to tap international capital markets for funds to build a pipeline bypassing its rebel region of Chechnya.
The most likely plan is to issue bonds convertible into 5 % of state-owned pipeline operator Transneft to raise $ 200 million for the new pipeline, Andrei Pershin, spokesman for Energy Minister Boris Nemtsov, said. Such a deal would not only remove Chechnya's leverage over Moscow, which has promised to deliver early oil from Azerbaijan's huge Caspian reserves to the Black Sea, but would kick off privatisation of the Transneft monopoly. "This alternative for financing the construction of a pipeline bypassing Chechnya seems the most realistic at the moment, although there are other alternatives," Pershin said. At present oil from Azerbaijan has to run through a 90-mile pipeline crossing Chechnya.
But Nemtsov said that Russia would build a 176-mile pipeline between Khasavyurt in Russia's republic of Dagestan to Terskoye, in its republic of North Ossetia, linking two pipelines not running through Chechnya.

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