Construction of Balkan oil pipeline to begin by end of year

Aug 31, 2001 02:00 AM

The construction of an oil pipeline across the Balkans from Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Bourgas to Vlore on Albania's Adriatic coast should begin by the end of the year, the US-led consortium in charge of the operation said.
The 890 km (550-mile) pipeline, which will cross the troubled republic of Macedonia, will take four years to build, cost $ 1.13 bn (1.24 bn euros) and have a daily capacity of 750,000 barrels of crude oil, said Ted Ferguson of the Balkan pipeline consortium (AMBO). "I believe the decision will be made by the end of the year and real work to develop the project will begin at the end of the year," he said.

Speaking before a meeting with Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Kostadin Pascalev, Ferguson said the pipeline was needed as an alternative to the Bosporus sea route through Turkey to bring oil from Central Asia to western markets via the Black Sea. The Bosporus shipping route would be insufficient to transport growing oil supplies of oil coming from the Caspian Sea region, he said, pointing out that a pipeline linking Kazakhstan to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk was due to begin pumping in September.

Bulgaria has said it will also back plans for a pipeline linking Bourgas to the Greek port of Alexandropulis on the Aegean Sea. The $ 700-mm pipeline would stretch 320 km and transport 40 mm tpy of oil. But Ferguson said AMBO's route was a better choice.
"We believe that the port of Vlore is more attractive than the ports in the Aegean Sea for exports because it's deeper water (and) closer to the areas and ports where the oil will be sold," he said. Oil arriving in Vlore would be transported via Rotterdam to the United States, he said.

Source: AFP
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