Russia, Transneft and Chechnya agree on transporting Azeri oil

Apr 28, 1998 02:00 AM

Russia, the Chechen republic and Russia's oil pipeline monopoly Transneft have signed an agreement on transporting oil through Chechnya.
The agreement provides for oil to travel from Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea, through Chechnya to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.
Khozhakhmed Yarikhanov, the Chechen presidential adviser on fuel and energy, said that the pipeline would handle 576.6 million gallons of crude from Azerbaijan this year. The route through Chechnya is an essential avenue for the growing oil output at Azerbaijan's Caspian sites. With the Azerbaijan International Operating Corp. expected to increase output rapidly in the next few years, new pipeline capacity will be necessary.
Russia has been advocating expanding the capacity of the pipeline through Chechnya as the most economical option. Competing plans for the transport of offshore oil from Azerbaijan include a route from the capital Baku to the Georgian port of Supsa and another one to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
The transport of oil from Azerbaijan through Chechnya began in late 1997, after the parties signed a temporary agreement on the shipment.
In the first quarter of 1998, a total of 53.3 mm gallons of crude oil was transported through the pipeline, Aleksei Skvortsov, head of communications at Transneft, said.

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