Aliyev Pressures Moscow on Chechen Oil Transit Opening

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Azeri President Gaidar Aliyev awaits the Chechen side’s answer concerning agreeing of all issues with Russia–connected with the transit of Azeri oil through the territory of this North Caucasian republic to Novorossiysk–the beginning of which is scheduled for October 1 this year.

The president told this today before his flight to Warsaw on an official visit. The president of Azerbaijan said that "if Russia is not ready to receive Azeri oil at the set terms–the republic will find a way out of such a situation."

On Monday Vice-President of Chechnya Vakha Arsanov stated that "the restoration works on the 153 km Chechen part of the oil pipeline ‘Baku-Grozny-Tikhoretsk-Novorossiysk’ were carried out very slowly–and it would not be put into operation by the fixed time."

The head of the Azeri state assigned First Vice-Premier of the republic Abbas Abbasov to get in contact with the appropriate departmen’s in Moscow.

The government of Azerbaijan is not particularly worried about a possible frustration of the beginning of transportation of early oil from contract oil fields in the Caspian Sea–which under the earlier reached agreement with the "Transneft."

Russian company and the "YuNKO" Chechen company was set for October 1. This view was expressed by head of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade at a meeting with reporters today.

According to Vakha Arsanov–"the restoration works on this part of the export oil pipeline are impeded by the Russian side–which so far have not allocated money."

Under the agreement–which was reached in Baku on July 11 during the signing there of the tripartite agreement between the state oil company of Azerbaijan–the Ministry of Fuel and Power Engineering of Russia and the "YuNKO" Chechen company on the readiness and the commitmen’s of the sides as to the transportation of Azeri oil as far as Novorossiysk–25-30 days were given for the performance of necessary works.

The Azeri side will be ready for the oil transportation by the fixed time–Aliyev said.

Azerbaijan has completed the construction of the underwater pipeline 200 kilometer long–which links the "Chirvag" oil field with the coast–where terminals for receiving 100,000 tons of oil have been ready.

Oil will be transported to them from the first exploited oil well–the drilling of which in this oil field is close to the completion.

Much earlier–at the beginning of the year–the Azeri part of the "Baku-Novorossiysk" oil pipeline was accomplished and filled with hydrocarbon raw materials.

Having stressed that he was informed by Vice-President of Chechnya Vakha Arsanov of the situation on the Chechen part of the oil pipeline

"Baku-Grozny-Tikhoretsk-Novorossiysk"–Premier of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade noted that "if the earlier agreemen’s on oil transit are frustrated–the Azeri side does not intend to address any courts with complaints against the Russian partners. A way out of such a situation will be found by all means," Rasizade assured.

"At first we will be able to process contract oil in Baku," he informed–probably meaning the capacities of the two local refineries–where there are two units for the annual processing of hydrocarbon raw materials of six million tons of oil each.

Then a western oil pipeline will be used–which will link Baku with terminals in Supse on the Black Sea coast of Georgia–he noted. Just as the northern route–it is intended for piping up five million tons of oil a year.

The leadership of the GNKAR State oil company of the Republic of Azerbaijan backs the premier’s view. GNKAR President Natik Aliyev told Itar-Tass in an interview that his company was considering several variants in the event of a frustration of the terms of the beginning of transportation of Azeri oil through the Russian territory.

"The main thing is not whether or not these terms will be upset–but to deliver Azeri oil to world markets," he stressed.

Natik Aliyev informed that now several variants of the delivery of Azeri oil to world markets were under consideration–not ruling out that hydrocarbon raw materials could be transported also by railway to the Black Sea coast of Georgia.

At present oil from the "Tengiz" Kazakh oil field is exported in this direction and is delivered to Baku by tankers.

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