26 Sep 2019 16:06

Transit tariffs must be raised 21% to compensate Gomeltransneft Druzhba losses from contaminated oil - chief engineer

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) - Gomeltransneft Druzhba could fully recover the losses it has sustained from reduced transit of Russian oil via Belarusian territory due to the Druzhba pipeline incident if tariffs rise 21%, first deputy head and chief engineer Andrei Verigo told reporters in Minsk on Thursday.

"This calculation, which we've presented [to the Russian side], 21%, allows us to reach 100% compensation of losses by the end of the year," Verigo said, commenting on the influence of a 3.7% hike that took effect on September 1.

"Today we need to understand that the consequences for the Belarusian transport system are decreased transport volumes. In effect, the month-long halt is about 7 million tonnes in lost volume that we won't be able to recover. This is related to the logistics of the market," he said.

The 3.7% rate increase "is a plus and is now giving us revenue growth of about $2 million by the end of the year, but there's still about $21 million in lost revenue," Verigo said.

The unplanned increase on September 1 will generate up to $8 million in compensation next year, but the Belarusian side is planning on further rate increases, he said.

"The thing is that the regulations for raising rates, our methodology, which is part of the package agreement, implies increasing rates on a scheduled basis, based on the results for the year, by the consumer price index in the Russian Federation plus 3%. An unscheduled rate increase is possible if the commercial terms change or if there's some kind of force majeure," Verigo said.

"We see this [the decrease in transit] as a change in commercial terms. We've seen a sharp decrease in transportation volumes, and, of course, raised rates," he said.

"Transneft's position, the position of Russian regulators, was always something like this: they promised and affirmed at every meeting that the full volumes would be restored by the end of the year. That was possible until September. What's necessary for that? We need transportation volumes of over 4 million tonnes toward Poland," Verigo said.

"But you and I understand that there's no buyer for these volumes there. And we can tell each other as many fairytales as we want, but we need to look at things soberly. The volumes remain, the market hasn't changed, no new plants have appeared in Europe, and, accordingly, average annual transportation volumes in the next three to five years won't undergo significant changes," he said.