Grozny Disagrees with Oil Compromise Solution

GROZNY (Itar-Tass)–President of the Yuzhnaya oil company Hozh Akhmed Yarikhanov told a news conference Wednesday that Grozny cannot accept Moscow’s proposals on a compromise solution of the problem on the Azeri oil transportation via the territory of Chechnya.

According to Yarikhanov–Russia–speaking about the likelihood of laying an oil pipeline bypassing Chechnya and about oil deliveries by tankers along the Volga–"attempts to blackmail" the Chechen Republic.

According to Yarikhanov–Russia may lay on its territory any communication lines–including oil pipelines.

However–in the case of using the Chechen variant for the oil delivery to a Black Sea terminal– Grozny cannot agree with the tariffs set by Moscow for its regions.

Yarikhanov said that Russia is obliged to restore the destroyed oil fields and oil refineries of Chechnya. At the same time–Yarikhanov does not share the view by some politicians that the talks on conditions for oil transit have been brought to a deadlock. We are prepared–he said–to accept and discuss any constructive proposals.

As it was reported earlier–Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin described as "unsuitable any whims" at the talks with Chechen negotiators on transporting Caspian oil via the territory of Chechnya.

"In any case–oil will reach consumers in line with the reached understandings–via the Chechen Republic or along the border with Chechnya–according to the international commitmen’s–first of all– before Azerbaijan," the Russian prime minister said. "We shall fulfill our commitmen’s before partners both this and next year."

Chernomyrdin told reporters during the visit to the national exhibition "Russian Foodstuffs-97" that "the talks with Chechnya on the conditions of Caspian oil deliveries via the republic’s territory are being and will be held–a compromise at the talks fully meets the interests of Chechnya."

At the same time–commenting on the results of the discussion of this subject with Russian President Boris Yeltsin Tuesday–Chernomyrdin described as unsuitable "the whims" of the Chechen side which offers high deman’s to the paymen’s for the oil deliveries.

"We have similar relations and agreemen’s not only with Chechnya and the international rules should be in effect in this respect," the Russian prime minister said.

"At the same time–oil will be delivered via Chechnya or bypassing it in accordance with all commitmen’s which Russia assumed by joining the pipeline consortium," Chernomyrdin said.

Azerbaijan’s Caspian "early" oil–or initial low-volume output of offshore oilfields–is to be transported to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk for overseas exports through Chechnya’s 153-kilometer pipeline.

Yarikhanov said Russia-proposed tariff of 43 cents per ton was of regimented quality and did not prove valid in analysis.

"If consequences of military operations are taken into account–it (the tariff) makes $4.27 for pumping one ton oil through the Chechen stretch of the oil pipeline," he said.

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