Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft has drafted a government resolution that, if approved, would allow it to construct an export pipeline bypassing Ukraine, according to company officials on October 20th.
The Russian company would like to replace the 100-km section running through Ukraine of an existing 740,000 b/d pipeline that transports Russian crude oil to the Black Sea ports of Novorossiisk and Tuapse, citing high transport fees.
Transneft Vice President Sergei Grigoryev said that: “We would like the government to make a political decision based on the start of construction of a pipeline bypassing Ukraine.
Once this decision is made, we can start building it in a very short time.” The company says that it has the equipment and pipes necessary to build the proposed 252-km, $100 million bypass.
Transneft’s announcement comes after Russian gas giant Gazprom said on October 19th that it has formed a consortium to build a new natural gas export pipeline that would bypass Ukraine.
The 373-mile, $2 billion pipeline would have a capacity of 60 billion cubic meters of gas per year and could have two lines running through Belarus, Poland and Slovakia to ship gas to Western customers.
Gazprom’s plans to bypass Ukraine are driven by the country’s vast debt to the gas company and allegations that Ukraine frequently siphons gas transported through it to Europe.