14 Aug 2023 12:11

Transneft on schedule with pipeline system expansion - Tokarev

MOSCOW. Aug 14 (Interfax) - Transneft is prepared to complete the expansion of its pipeline system to increase shipments in a number of directions within the set timeframe, the Russian oil pipeline monopoly's president, Nikolai Tokarev said.

"And this work is already underway. We plan to considerably expand the throughput capacity of the Port of Primorsk in 2024 already, and Novorossiysk in 2025. There is a lot of work, but it will be carried out on time. We have all the schedules and contractors, money has been allocated, so I'm confident that we will manage this serious challenge," Tokarev said in an interview with national daily Kommersant.

"Although we have to expand, for example, more than 500 km of pipelines in the direction of Novorossiysk. In other words, reconstruction of existing oil booster stations, construction of new ones, modernization of the old linear section and construction of new sections. All this in itself is a major project with a cost of about 130 billion rubles. The route to Primorsk and the port itself will be expanded approximately according to the same plan," Tokarev said.

"We surveyed several routes before we made the decision on Primorsk and Novorossiysk. For example, there were the options of building oil pipelines to Murmansk and the Gulf of Ob. But these routes are exceptionally difficult in themselves, expensive and did not make it possible to solve the problem of expeditiously redirecting increased oil flows to the East in a short period of time," he said.

"Such an expansion of the ESPO [Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean oil pipeline] would have required more than 1 trillion rubles of investment. Plus, there were also technological constraints - about 400 km of the pipeline to Murmansk would have had to be strung along cliffs, while the Gulf of Ob is already crowded - several major Russian oil and gas companies are already working and building facilities there. Furthermore, we would have had to take the resources for shipments in these directions from the western part of the country and expand all of the corresponding infrastructure. So the expansion of already existing ports was the optimal solution and enabled us to quickly and flexibly close the issue of additional shipments," Tokarev said.

Transneft is also optimizing operations at other ports. "For example, in Kozmino, with a design capacity of 30 million tonnes per year, we handled 40 million in 2022. This year we expect to offload 42 million tonnes. And this is not the limit, there is still potential there to carry out a number of technical measures and accelerate the process of offloading oil. Before, tanker inspection by regulatory agencies took a whole day. Now, thanks to the rearrangement of the schedule for this work, instead of 1.5 tankers per day, two, sometimes 2.5 vessels manage [to get through this process], which also increases cargo traffic," Tokarev said.

Transneft is also "preparing to restore oil supplies for export from the first phase of the ESPO by the railway that previously shipped about 15 million tonnes of oil," he said.

"We have already de-mothballed the Gruzovaya station [serves the port of Kozmino] and carried out trial shipments that showed the system is ready. All oil companies have left to do is resolve the issue with [Russian Railways] rates for this route to start operating. We hope that the route to the East will be fully utilized next year," Tokarev said.

"Concurrently, work is underway to build a new oil pumping station by 2026 to increase oil shipments from the Meget train station in Irkutsk Region eastward to 7 million tonnes. There is already a tank car loading rack there, and in general this route is almost ready, it just needs to be fine-tuned a little," Tokarev said.