BP says Azeri oil exports by rail to Georgia halted


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The stoppage further limits BP’s options in taking oil from the Caspian after a fire damaged its Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) link to Turkey and a pipeline to Supsa in Georgia was shut due to security concerns. “Rail exports have stopped from Azerbaijan to Georgia,” BP spokesman Robert Wine said. “There’s been some damage along the line in Georgia.”

Georgia at the weekend accused Russian troops of blowing up a railway bridge west of the capital Tbilisi, saying its main east-west train link had been severed. Russia strongly denied any involvement. The railway line runs from Tbilisi, through the Georgian town of Gori, before splitting in three and running to the Black Sea ports of Poti and Batumi and southwest to just short of the Turkish border.

It can carry between 50,000 barrels per day and 70,000 bpd of Azeri oil to the port of Batumi, Wine said. The closure leaves BP with a pipeline to Russia’s port of Novorossiisk to export crude from fields in the Azeri part of the Caspian Sea. About 100,000 bpd of Azeri oil can be exported that way, analysts say.

Because of the disruption, the BP-led Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli oilfields in the Caspian have cut production to about 250,000 bpd from about 800,000 bpd before the BTC link was damaged, according to industry sources. Oil analysts and traders say the Russian pipeline outlet is not an attractive option to export Azeri oil because it would have to mixed with lower-quality Russian Urals crude. (Reuters)


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