April 10, 2019 / 11:46 AM / 13 days ago

Oil shipments from Georgia's Batumi port drop 29 pct in Jan-March

TBILISI, April 10 (Reuters) - Oil and oil-related shipments from Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi dropped 29 percent in the first three months of 2019 from a year earlier, an official at a KazMunaiGas-operated terminal at the port said on Wednesday.

Shipments of crude oil and refined oil products from Batumi have fallen in recent years, partly because Azerbaijan prefers to send its oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline or via its own terminal at the Georgian port of Kulevi, rather than from Batumi, which is operated by a Kazakh company.

There were no shipments of crude oil, naphtha, jet fuel or vacuum gasoil from Batumi in January-March, the official, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters.

Some crude oil was re-routed to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, the official said, while some fuel oil was sent to the port of Taman in Russia and to Kulevi.

Oil-related shipments from Batumi fell to 212,949 tonnes in January-March, from 300,527 tonnes a year earlier. In March alone shipments were 87,005 tonnes, compared with 98,205 tonnes a year earlier and 75,700 tonnes in February this year.

Crude and refined oil products from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are shipped out of Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Batumi, Supsa, Poti and the terminal at Kulevi.

Some products are transported across the Caspian Sea in small tankers, unloaded in the Azeri port of Baku and then sent by rail to Georgian ports for export to the Mediterranean.

In 2018, shipments of oil and oil-related products from Batumi were 1.030 million tonnes, against 2.109 million in 2017. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by David Evans)

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