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Ukraine ready to pump up to 12mn tonnes of Azeri oil to Belarus annually

MINSK, 6 October (BelTA) - Ukraine can pump 16-20 million tonnes of Azeri crude oil per year, including up to 12 million tonnes to Belarus, news agencies quote Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Sergei Chekh as saying.

“We will buy part of this volume for our own refineries, and will transit the rest,” said Sergei Chekh.

The agreement provides for the transportation of 8-12 million tonnes of Azeri oil towards Belarus and up to 5 million tonnes towards Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. In general, the transit volumes will amount up to 17 million tonnes. In addition, up to 3 million tonnes will be pumped for two refineries in Western Ukraine: NPK Galichina and Naftokhimik Prykarpatya.

Azerbaijani oil will be transported via the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline, which was built ten years ago to transport oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe. But due to the lack of a branch line towards Poland the pipeline was mainly used for pumping small amounts of Russian oil in the reverse mode (in the region of Brody it connects to the Druzhba pipeline). To deliver oil to Belarus it is necessary to engage the Druzhba oil pipeline.

In January 2011, in Davos Azerbaijani Minister of Fuel Natik Aliyev and his Ukrainian colleague Yuri Boyko signed an intergovernmental agreement to develop cooperation in oil transportation through the territory of Ukraine. The decision to export oil through Ukraine to Europe fits into Baku’s overall strategy to diversify Azeri oil supply routes.