Oil shipments from Georgia's Batumi port drop 51 pct in 2018

TBILISI, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Oil and oil-related shipments from Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi fell 51.2 percent in 2018 from a year earlier, an official at a KazMunaiGas-operated terminal at the port said on Thursday.

Some crude oil was re-routed to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium last year, the official added, while some fuel oil was sent to the port of Taman in Russia and Georgia’s other Black Sea port of Kulevi.

The fall in shipments is partly because Azerbaijan prefers to send its oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline or via its own terminal in Kulevi, rather than from Batumi, which is operated by a Kazakh company.

Shipments of crude oil and refined oil products from Batumi totalled 1.030 million tonnes last year, down from 2.109 million tonnes in 2017, said the official, who asked not to be identified.

In December, overall shipments were 51,709 tonnes, compared with 26,761 tonnes the previous month and 221,210 tonnes in December 2017.

“Some volumes have been re-routed to other routes last year,” the official said.

There were no shipments of crude oil, jet fuel, fuel oil and naphtha last month.

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 in 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. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Mark Potter)