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Transneft: Russia has enough pipeline capacities to redirect its oil volumes

December 01, 2015, 21:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Closure of the straits or restrictions for Russian vessels carrying oil and oil products would mean that Turkey violates international law, Transneft representative said
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© Vladimir Smirnov/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, December 1. / TASS/. In case Turkey blocks Black Sea straits, Russia has enough pipeline capacities to redirect its oil volumes and meet all its commitments on oil supplies, Igor Demin, an official representative of OJSC AK Transneft, told TASS.

"Under international law, Turkey has no right to block the straits. If non-state methods are used, we have surplus [of pipeline capacities] in all directions and in case of the lockout, we will easily transfer these supplies to the Druzhba (pipeline), BTS-1, BTS-2, Ust-Luga and Primorsk, let alone railroad shipments," he said.

Demin reminded, that in accordance with the Convention Montreux Turkey has the right to regulate only the passage of warships through the Black Sea straits. Under the document, merchant ships are free to go through straits both in peacetime and in wartime.

Thus, in the present situation there is no legal basis to close the straits to Russian ships. Closure of the straits or restrictions for Russian vessels carrying oil and oil products would mean that Turkey violates international law, in particular the Montreux Convention.

Moreover, the majority of ships carrying Russian hydrocarbons, pass the straits not under the Russian flag and carry flags of convenience.

Annually about 60 million tonnes of crude of non-Russian origin are transported through the straits, and only 32-35 million tonnes of Russian crude.

In particular besides Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan transport their oil through the Black Sea straits, as well as Western companies which are shipping oil they produced in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

A possible closure of the straits by Turkey would affect the interests of the Western oil companies and Kazakh exporters, transporting oil through the CPC (Caspian Pipeline Consortium), because currently there are no alternatives.

Russia will be able to use the existing capacities of its Baltic ports and European routes for redistribution of oil from the Black Sea region.

"From the perspective of consumers in Europe, it will become slightly more expensive," - said the official representative of Transneft.

If we talk about the resources that are exported from the territory of Kazakhstan the choice of alternative destinations for the export of oil is very limited, he said.

So, the outflow of oil can be carried out through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and theoretically through the Odessa-Brody pipeline. The volumes (up to 8 mln tonnes per year), which are exported by Kazakh company Tengizchevroil, can be shipped by railway transport through Russia. At the same time around 13-15 million tonnes of oil from the remaining Caspian resources can be transported via the Black Sea.

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