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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Azerbaijan to Stop Oil Exports Through Russia on Jan 1

06.12.2006 - MosNews - On Wednesday, Dec. 6, Azeri Prime Minister Artur Rasulzade announced that Azerbaijan will stop the exports of Azeri oil through the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline starting on Jan. 1, 2007. The news came as a bad surprise to Russia Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who was in Baku to discuss the tense relations over the gas supply issue and to attend events organized for the “Year of Russia in Azerbaijan”. MosNews has reported several days ago that Azeri authorities mentioned the possibility of halting the oil exports through the Russian link in retaliation for Gazprom’s decision to double the price of natural gas it sells to Azerbaijan. At that point it was said that Azerbaijan would need all of its oil to fuel the power stations that will fail to receive Russian gas. But on Wednesday Rasulazade offered another explanation for the decision. During his meeting with Fradkov, the Azeri Prime Minister said that the British Petroleum’s work on the Shah-Deniz gas reserves would be completed by Jan. 1, making Azerbaijan independent of Russian gas supplies, as the country will have enough of its own. Speaking about stopping the flow of Azeri oil pumped through Novorossiysk, Rasulzade said it was not a matter of further discussion and made a comparison: “We have no demands for a discount in the customs tax but the Russian oil company Transneft wants $15 a ton as tax, while Georgia takes only $3 a ton for the Azeri oil that reaches the city of Supsa.”
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