MOSCOW (Segondya)The Azerbaijan State Oil company announced Tuesday that the Russian oil pipeline operator–Transneft–refused to pump Azeri oil along the route from its capital Baku through Chechnya to the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.
The announcement nullified previous agreemen’s between Russia and Azerbaijan on the export of 70 million tons of oil to Europe from February to March.
Russia’s refusal–according to some observers–is to teach Chechnya a lesson in economic survival–despite jeopardizing its own international prestige and risking growing competition from Georgian oil carriers.
The agreement in question was signed by Transneft–Russia–Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR and the international development consortium AIOC which is involved in the development of Caspian Sea oil.
Transneft claims the agreement applies only to oil produced in the AIOC contract zone–and not to oil produced by SOCAR at other fields. AIOC is now considering other oil transport routes possibly through Georgia.