Russian Government to Approve 3rd Stage of Baltic Pipeline System in March

'In March 2003 the Russian government may approve the plan to construct the third stage of the Baltic Pipeline System (BTS-3),' said Semyon Vainshtok, the president of Transneft, in an interview for Rosbalt today. He added that this project would replace the planned construction of the pipeline system's second stage.

It is planned that BTS-3 will handle 30 million tonnes of oil a year. Together with BTS-1, which is already in operation, the combined capacity of the system will be 42 million tonnes of oil a year. The planned length of BTS-3 is 708 kilometres, from Yaroslavl to Primorsk, and its planned diameter is 1022 millimetres, which will allow capacity to be increased to 35 million tonnes a year if necessary.

Semyon Vainshtok stressed that Transneft is ready to begin preparing project documentation within 48 hours of the government's decision and will start construction work very soon afterwards. 'I hope that we will build the third stage of the BTS even quicker than the first stage,' said Vainshtok.

In December 2002 the head of Transneft announced that President Putin had agreed to the construction of the third stage of the BTS instead of the second stage. On December 30, 2002 Transneft handed its construction plans over for examination by the Russian government.

The first stage of the BTS was brought on line at the end of December 2001. The project cost USD 420.2 million. The first stage can handle 12 million tonnes of oil a year. The BTS allows oil to be exported from the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province, Western Siberia, and the Urals and Volga district. The BTS development project envisages increasing the Primorsk port's capacity.

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