Belarus Suspends Transit Of Russian Diesel Oil To Latvia

MINSK, Belarus (AFP)--Belarus has suspended the transit of diesel oil through Russia to Latvia because of technical problems with the pipeline, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

Inspectors had found more than 1,082 faults along the pipeline, of which only 23.5% had been repaired before a deadline last Friday, said Vitali Novitski.

At that point they had shut down the Unecha-Polotsk-Ventspils pipeline, he said. The inspection had been carried out by German experts.

But Russian company Zapad Transnefteprodukt, which operated the line and was responsible for the repairs, denied having violated the repairs timetable, said Novitski.

The arrangement they had with their Belarus partners involved repairs to 150 faults in 2009, said group Vice President Vladimir Nazarov, describing the Belarus decision to suspend operations as "surprising".

The oil pipeline, which has been operating for 40 years, has a capacity of 4 millions metric tons a year.



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