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Russia to halt oil product export via Baltic ports by 2018

Russia will halt export of oil products via Baltic ports by 2018, Russian oil pipeline company Transneft President Nikolay Tokarev said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, reports LETA according to Interfax information.

"If about 9 mln tons of oil products were transhipped there [via the Baltic countries] last year, then this year - about 5 mln tons. By 2018, in the coming years, we will reduce freight flow to the Baltic region to zero," said Tokarev, explaining that Transneft would use Russian ports instead.

"According to government instructions, we have reoriented freight flow from the Baltic ports, Ventspils and Riga, to our ports at the Baltic - Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk," said Tokarev.

Part of the oil pipelines currently not used for shipping oil will be used for oil product shipments, explained Tokarev.

Tokarev went on to say that Transneft was planning to increase oil transportation through oil pipelines in 2016. "This year we are planning to transport 483 mln tons of oil. This is 1.5 mln tons more than last year. Of this amount, 238 mln tons will be exported, and 244 mln tons will be shipped for domestic consumption," said Tokarev.

Latvia's state-owned railway company Latvijas Dzelzcels is getting ready for Russia's plans to stop the oil product export via Baltic ports by 2018, the company's board chairman Edvins Berzins said in an interview with the public Latvian television on Tuesday.

He said that Russia's plans had been known already a while ago, therefore Latvijas Dzelzcels is working actively to replace these cargos.

He said that Russia's plans to halt oil product exports via Baltic ports are not related with politics but with the fact that Russia has been investing in its ports in the past years and the investments should return. According to his estimates, Latvijas Dzelzcels might lose up to ten mln tons of cargos.

Berzins also said that in the past couple of months, cargos reloaded by Latvijas Dzelzcels are stable, even though there is a fall by about 20% compared to last year. "The cargo flow is stable, and there is no reason for panic," he said.

The decision of the Russian oil transshipment company Transneft to discontinue the export of petrochemical products via ports of the Baltic countries by 2018 only concerns crude products transported by pipeline and hence has to do with Latvia alone, Tiit Vahi, chairman of the supervisory board of the Estonian port company Sillamae Sadam AS, said on Tuesday.

"This is not so much news as a long-term policy. The one to say it out was Transneft, Transneft's manager Tokarev, and it concerns oil transported by pipeline. Hence it does not concern Estonia directly, rather the ports of Riga and Ventspils in Latvia," the former prime minister of Estonia said. He said this doesn't mean that everything having to do with oil has come to an end.

(Source: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=124015)


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