Belarus Counting On Azerbaijan Crude Imports

Belarus intends to replace crude from Venezuela in the future with imports from Azerbaijan on swap contracts, Interfax-Zapad reports, citing sources in the Belarussian energy ministry.

"In the initial stage, Venezuelan crude arriving in tankers to Ukraine's Pivden port is being pumped through the Odessa-Brody pipeline, but in 2011 Minsk is counting on swap contracts which will make it possible to replace the Venezuelan crude with imports from Azerbaijan", the source said.

He noted that the scenario envisions organizing supplies of Azerbaijani crude through the Baku-Novorossiysk or Baku-Supsa pipelines which have outlets to the Black Sea. There the crude will be loaded onto tankers which will transport it to Pivden port to subsequently be pumped through the Odessa-Brody pipeline. The significantly shorter sea route will make these supplies much cheaper for Belarus.

"The savings could be from $45-50 per ton", the source noted. He did not clarify when such swap agreements may begin.

At the end of October in Minsk, the closed joint-stock company Belarussian Oil Company, Gomeltransneft Druzhba on the Belarussian side and the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Ministry and Ukrtransnaft on the UKrainian side signed a long-term agreement on transporting Venezuelan crude along the ODessa-Brody pipeline to Belarussian refineries. The contract is in effect through the end of 2013 and envisions guaranteed volumes of 5 million tons per year with the possibility of increasing capacity to 8 million tons per year. The contract covers the possibility of organizing swap supplies.


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