Azeri oil transit diverse, SOCAR head says

May 16, 2013 at 5:50 AM

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 16 (UPI) -- Azerbaijan has several options for oil delivery despite a Russian decision to sever a transit deal from the 1990s, the head of the country's oil company said.

State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic President Rovnag Abdullayev said the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, one of the longest oil pipelines in the world, was operating at about 70 percent capacity and the Baku-Supsa line was at 80 percent of its capacity.

"Besides, we can transport oil by railroad, too," he was quoted by the Azeri Press Agency as saying.

The Russian government canceled a 1996 contract this week for transit of Azeri oil through an 820-mile pipeline from Baku to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Russian pipeline company Transneft said it was frustrated with a history of lower volumes through the pipeline.

Abdullayev said the pipeline decision was based on market factors, however.

"It is an economic decision and there is not any political factor here," he said.

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