Transneft Seeks to Resolve Dispute at Baltic Oil Port

OAO Transneft, Russia’s pipeline operator, and OAO Rosneft, the nation’s biggest oil company, are trying to resolve a tug boat dispute that disrupted exports at Primorsk port, a Transneft spokesman said.

Some tankers are loading again, after a halt yesterday at the Baltic port, one of two handling Russia’s seaborne crude exports to northwest Europe, though the dispute wasn’t yet settled as of noon Moscow time, Igor Dyomin, a spokesman for OAO Transneft, said by phone.

One crude tanker was loading this morning and another was waiting to be loaded, while refined oil products were transfered onto two other tankers at the terminal during last night and this morning, as expected, Dyomin said. Decisions on which ships may berth were made on an ad-hoc basis, he said.

Russia plans to ship less than 1 million barrels a day of Urals crude from Primorsk port for a second month in July, a loading program showed yesterday. The tally is little changed from June, which was the lowest loading rate in more than five years.

The port halted loadings because Rosnefteflot tug boats didn’t have the necessary approvals, Dyomin said yesterday. Rosneft, which co-owns Rosnefteflot with Sovcomflot, said in an e-mailed statement today that the tug boats in Primorsk “have all the rights” to conduct operations.

The tug boats, used to guide vessels to their loading positions, had been certified according to relevant laws and requirements, according to Rosneft.

The Urals grade in northwest Europe cost 25 cents a barrel more than North Sea benchmark Dated Brent today, compared with a 16-cent premium yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Konstantin Rozhnov in London at krozhnov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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