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Urals exports from Baltic ports up in Oct on restored Ust-Luga loadings

Urals crude exports and transit shipments from Russia’s Baltic sea ports are set to rise 11% on a daily basis in October month on month, as loadings from Ust-Luga port are set to be fully restored, a provisional loading schedule showed.

Five million tonnes of oil were contaminated in April by organic chloride, mostly via the Druzhba pipeline and some via Ust-Luga port. Russia, which restored supplies via Druzhba in the summer, used Ust-Luga to ship tainted oil.

Loadings from Ust-Luga are seen rising to 3.1 million tonnes next month from 1.5 million tonnes in September, according to the provisional loading schedule. Urals exports from Primorsk are seen down by 0.7 million tonnes at 3.9 million tonnes.

Urals and Siberian Light loadings from the Black Sea’s Novorossiisk were seen at 2.5 million tonnes in October, down from 3.0 million tonnes in September.

Urals exports from Ust-Luga had been limited since July as Russia’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft dealt with the storage and dilution of tainted oil in its system.

Transneft has yet to dilute more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated oil with clean volumes. The tainted oil is stored in its system and the process is expected to take about a year.

The organic chloride content in Russian Urals crude in ports and the domestic market has risen slightly, but remained stable and within maximum permitted levels of 6 parts per million (ppm), traders said.

According to three trading sources, the chloride content in Urals loadings from Primorsk stayed within 2 ppm, while in Urals loadings from Ust-Luga and Novorossiisk, organic chloride content was at 1-4 ppm, also below the maximum allowed level.

On Wednesday, Kommersant newspaper cited a Rosneft letter in which Igor Sechin, the head of the Russian oil giant, asked Energy Minister Alexander Novak to bar Transneft from blending tainted oil with clean volumes.

Rosneft did not reply to a Reuters request for comment, while the energy ministry declined to comment.
Source: Reuters (Gleb Gorodyankin, Olga Yagova, Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Katya Golubkova and David Evans)

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