Belarus negotiates crude imports via Latvia

RIGA, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Belarus' oil company said on Friday it was negotiating Venezuela crude imports via Latvia's ports of Ventspils and Riga.

Belarus plans to import up to 10 million tonnes of Venezuela crude via Ukraine and Baltic ports next year, cutting imports of Russian oil, officials said.

Two test loadings of crude have been delivered to Belarus via Estonia and Lithuania ports, and Belarus wants a deal with Latvian ports. [ID:nLDE67T091]

"I hope those negotiations (on crude imports) we have with Latvia will conclude positively as well. We negotiate with Ventspils and Riga (ports)," Alexander Demidov, deputy director general of Belarus Oil Company, told the Baltic economic forum.

Belarus Transport Minister Ivan Shcherbo told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting, Minsk may import crude via Latvian ports if it gets good transportation rates.

"It's all up to transportation tariffs," he said, adding that no long-term contracts on crude transit have been signed yet, and crude import distribution via Baltic and Ukraine ports have not been decided yet.

He also said Belarus would prefer to import crude via the Ventspils-Polotsk pipeline, which has not been used for crude since 2006.

"I hope we can get the pipe running again," Shcherbo said.

Belarusian refiners can process up to 22 million tonnes of crude per year. (Reporting by Aija Braslina and Nerijus Adomaitis)


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