Russia pipeline halves oil through Belarus

March 13, 2007 at 3:38 PM

MOSCOW, March 13 (UPI) -- At least half of Russian oil heading through Belarus to Europe will be diverted with a new pipeline to bypass the former Soviet state.

Semyon Vainshtok, head of the state-run pipeline monopoly Transneft, said construction of the new pipeline could begin next month. The move is a direct result of a dispute earlier this year between Russia and Belarus. Russia says it needs to find other routes after a price feud temporarily threatened oil shipments to Europe.

The 367 million barrels per day pipeline will run from Unecha, Russia, near the border with Belarus, to the Baltic Pipeline System terminal in Primorsk, Russia, near Finland.

"We expect to reorient half of the 100 million metric tons (733 million bbl), exported through Belarus, to Primorsk," Vainshtok said.

The oil will then flow to Germany, and then to Europe and the United States, RIA Novosti reports.

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