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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tengiz delays BTC flows again

19 March 2008 - Upstream Online - Tengizchevroil, the Chevron-led Kazakh oil venture, has again delayed first oil shipments via the Baku-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline due to differences over fees and other issues, an Azeri official said. "We haven't yet agreed on a wide range of issues, mostly commercial, despite Tengizchevroil's desire to start shipments from the beginning of 2008. We continue talks and still expect the transit to start this year," said an official from Azeri state oil company Socar. Tengizchevroil, struggling to agree with Russia on the expansion of its key pipeline export route, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, had hoped to start alternative exports via Baku in mid-2007. Tengizchevroil, which also includes US supermajor ExxonMobil, Kazakh state oil company KazMunaiGas, a BP unit and Russia's Lukoil, was not immediately available for comment, Reuters reported. The BTC pipeline is run by BP and pumps crude from large Azeri fields on the Caspian Sea to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. The pipeline can pump more than 1 million barrels per day. Tengizchevroil shipped about 120,000 bpd of crude by tankers via the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan to world markets in the late 1990s. But it has re-routed all volumes to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk after building a pipeline via Kazakhstan and Russia, known as the CPC. CPC wants to double capacity to accommodate rising output in Kazakhstan, but Moscow has been blocking the plan for years, asking the pipeline group to raise payment to the Russian government and participate in the expansion of other pipelines.

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