UPDATE 1-Russia to stop oil product export via foreign Baltic ports by 2018

(Adds detail, background)

MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Russia plans to halt exports of oil products from foreign ports on the Baltic Sea by 2018, the head of oil pipeline monopoly Nikolai Tokarev told President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

Tokarev said exports of crude products through non-Russian ports will fall to 5 million tonnes this year from 9 million tonnes in 2015 and by 2018 will stop completely.

“We will be shipping through our own ports as there is surplus capacity,” Tokarev told Putin, according to a transcript of the meeting published on the Kremlin website.

The giant Primorsk terminal and neighbouring Ust-Luga allowed Russia more than a decade ago to suspend exports of crude via non-Russian Baltic ports. Since then, Russia has been gradually cutting exports of oil products via foreign ports, such as Latvia’s Ventspils.

If product flows are suspended it would deal a blow to the transit revenues of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and hit the world’s largest oil trader Vitol, which controls Ventspils.

But the move would boost several Russian ports. Ust-Luga, which has a capacity of more than 30 million tonnes a year, is 74 percent controlled by billionaire Andrei Bokarev. Primorsk is operated by Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port Group.

The port of Vysotsk in the Leningrad region, which belongs to Russia’s second-largest oil producer is also likely to benefit. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Dmitry Zhdannikov and Lidia Kelly; editing by Susan Thomas)