Russia Ready to Transport Azeri Oil

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass)–"The Russian side is ready to fulfill all its commitmen’s and to ensure the transportation of Azerbaijan petroleum beginning from the fourth quarter of 1997," Anatoly Shatalov–First Deputy Energy Minister–said on Friday–addressing a meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.

He said that negotiations with the Chechen side on the terms for the transit transportation of oil via the Baku-Grozny-Novorossiisk pipeline were all but completed.

Repair jobs on the Chechen section of the pipeline will be started as soon as a corresponding document are signed. Experts believe that this will take approximately one month.

The date when "early" Azerbaijan oil was to begin flowing from the Caspian shelf deposits via this pipeline was repeatedly put off. A decision to begin its transportation from October 1 was adopted after several rounds of negotiations.

By the end of the year–up to 200,000 tons of "early" oil are scheduled to be pumped. Total extraction is expected to reach approximately five million ton a year.

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