Russia resumes pumping petroleum products through Belarus via Unecha-Ventspils pipeline

MOSCOW. July 24 (Interfax) - Russia's Transnefteproduct, which is part of pipeline operator Transneft (RTS: TRNF) and holds a monopoly over the transportation of petroleum products via pipelines, resumed the transportation of petroleum products through Belarus via the Unecha- Ventspils pipeline on Friday evening, Ilya Arkhipov, head of Transnefteproduct's PR department told Interfax.

"At 6:00 p.m., we started pumping, turned on the pumps and are gradually reaching the technological regime," he said.

The Belarusian Emergency Situations Ministry on July 21 decided to temporarily suspend operations on the Belarusian section of the Unecha- Ventspils pipeline due to what it called the pipeline's unsatisfactory condition.

"The latest diagnostics of the pipeline, which was carried out by a German company, revealed 1,082 defects. The Emergency Situations Ministry issued instructions for these defects to be fixed by July 17, 2009. Nevertheless, only 254 defects were fixed. It was decided to suspend the transit of petroleum products for environmental reasons," Vitaly Novitsky, head of the ministry's press service, told Interfax.

Despite the stoppage, Transnefteproduct has said it will meet all its July commitments to consumers.



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