An official ceremony of breaking ground for a terminal to handle oil products was held in Vysotsk in the Leningrad region.
Vysotsk governor Valery Serdyukov and Vagit Alekperov, president of the Lukoil company, opened the foundation stone symbolising the beginning of the construction project.
Alekperov said that every year Lukoil exports 15 million tonnes of oil products. In 2001 Lukoil opened a terminal of 3,000-tonne annual throughput capacity in the Kaliningrad region (Russia's enclave on the Baltic sea on the border with Poland) and is going to increase its capacity to six million tonnes. When the Vysotsk terminal reaches the full capacity -- ten million tonnes annually -- all Lukoil crudes will be handled through Russian ports.
Vagit Alekperov said his company may offer services in the handling of oil products through Vysotsk also to other Russian oil companies.
Part of the terminal will be a tank for 600,000 tonnes of oil for one-time keeping, a railway station, berthing and hydrotechnical structures, auxiliary facilities and process lines. Alekperov said that the total cost of the project is approximately 100 million dollars.
When the terminal is ready Lukoil will spend only two dollars for the transportation of one tonne of oil, while now the carriage of oil products through Baltic ports costs the company up to eight dollars per tonne. Vagit Alekperov said that, after the project is over, his company will ensure 100-percent supply of own gasoline to the Lukoil network of refuelling stations on the United States' coast. The demand is four million tonnes of gasoline annually.
The first stage of the terminal, whose building is expected to be over in August 2003, will export fuel oil and diesel fuel. In the future, the handling terminal will export gasoline, lubricants and methanol. Lukoil expects to complete the project in 2004, said Vagit Alekperov.
By summer, the Russian army may break through Ukrainian defences, reach Odessa and liberate Transnistria. The West will only “condemn” Russia's actions and continue supporting Chisinau in words