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Russia will stop exporting its oil through foreign ports sitting on the Baltic Sea by 2018, according to a new report by Reuters.
Nikolai Tokarev, head of the Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft, told President Vladimir Putin about the plan during a meeting on Monday.
"Last year, around 9 million tonnes were shipped through the Baltic ports, while this year the figure was 5 million tonne,” Tokarev told Putin, according to the meeting’s official transcript on the Kremlin’s website. "By 2018, we will reduce this flow to the Baltic ports to zero and will direct it to our ports instead, as we have surplus capacity.”
“Good,” Putin replied.
Crude supplies currently shipped through the Latvian cities of Riga and Ventspils will be redirected to Russian ports on the Baltic Sea with excess capacity, the oil executive said.
The suspension of Russian imports to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania would hurt the former Soviet republics’ transit revenues. Vitol, the world’s largest oil trader, currently operates out of Ventspils.
The three European Union-member countries have been dependent on Russian oil since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
This summer, the European Commission announced a plan to develop the Baltic states’ Soviet-era energy infrastructure, which keeps them tied to Russia.
In July, the European Commission agreed to invest 263 million euros in trans-European energy infrastructure projects - the biggest share of which will be destined to the Baltic Sea region to help the expansion of the gas infrastructure.
Russia and the EU have been at odds with one in another in recent months regarding several geopolitical issues, especially the Syrian Civil War and the annexation of Crimea. Lately, the EU’s member states have been in search of new oil and gas trading partners to reduce Russia’s political leverage.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…