Azeri oil may be shipped to Russia, bypassing Chechnya, by rail starting July.

Jun 17, 1999 02:00 AM

An alternative railroad route for shipping Azeri oil to Russia, bypassing Chechnya, may be completed as early as July, the press service of the Transneft company told recently.
At present, Transneft is preparing an official answer to the inquiry by Azerbaijan's state oil company (GNKAR) regarding the recent statement by Russian officials about the possible termination of operation of the Baku-Grozny-Tikhoretsk- Novorossiysk oil pipeline, which runs through Chechnya.
The press service declined to reveal data on oil losses on the Chechen stretch of the pipeline, but said the matter concerns "large thefts."
The main current objective for the Transneft leadership is to ensure the stability of the transport tariff fixed in the agreement with the GNKAR. Transneft officials said they had already received preliminary agreement from the Railroad Ministry on a preferential tariff for the Makhachkala-Tikhoretsk railroad stretch.
"It is unlikely that the alternative route will be ready before July, " Transneft officials said.

Source: Itar-Tass via Newspage
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