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Latvian ‘Tourist’ Detained for Stealing Diesel From Russian Pipe

Five Latvians and a Russian were detained Feb. 8 near St. Petersburg for cutting into a diesel pipeline that runs to the Baltic Sea port of Primorsk, said Russian oil products pipeline operator OAO Transnefteprodukt.

One of the men identified himself to the police as a tourist from Latvia, according to a statement posted on St. Petersburg-based Transnefteprodukt’s website today.

During the investigation, police and employees from two Transnefteprodukt units discovered a 1.5 kilometer, or 0.9 mile, hose leading from a breach in the pipeline to a 20 metric ton storage tank. More than 40,000 liters of stolen diesel were recovered, according to the statement.

The pipeline handles low-sulfur diesel from refineries including TNK-BP’s Ryazan plant and OAO Lukoil’s Nizhny Novgorod facility and has a capacity of 8.5 million tons a year, Ilya Arkhipov, a spokesman for the operator, said by phone from Moscow.

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