Poland set to kick-start Black Sea oil corridor project - ministry

01 April 2011 18:06  [Source: ICIS news]

PRAGUE (ICIS)--Poland is set to step up efforts to complete the EuroAsian Oil Transport Corridor, a pipeline link stretching to the Black Sea that could prove vital to the future of the country's chemical and refining industries, the country's economy ministry said on Friday.

Polish officials have been encouraged by the recent reversal of the oil flow in the pipeline system running from Odessa, on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, to Brody, a town in western Ukraine near the border with Poland, it added.

This had opened up an opportunity to fulfill a two-decades-old aspiration, namely the extension of the system from Brody to Plock, in central Poland, the ministry said.

The infrastructure, it noted, would allow for the pipeline transportation of oil from the Caspian Sea region to Poland's main refining and chemical production hub, which is currently dependent on Russian oil delivered via the Druzhba pipeline.

Since the commissioning of the 10m tonne/year Odessa-Brody pipeline in 2004, Russian companies have used it “in reverse” for transporting Russian oil to Black Sea export terminals, but with the Russian government having now re-directed substantial oil export volumes into the recently-finished Baltic Pipeline System, an extension to Plock has once more become an objective worth pursuing.

The extension is likely to cost around zlotych (Zl) 1.5bn ($528.2m, €372.2m), with around Zl 495m of the cost possibly to be covered from a grant from the EU's Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme, the ministry said.

A hearing in the Polish parliament on 22 March, with the participation of four cabinet ministers, heard that 2015 was realistically the earliest date that a consortium could aim for in terms of completing the pipeline.

Poland's Przedsiebiorstwo Eksploatacji Rurociagow Naftowych Przyjazn (PERN Przyjazn) pipeline operator was among possible consortium members that have also looked at further extending the pipeline route to Gdansk on Poland's Baltic coast, the hearing was told by government officials.

Poland's PKN Orlen group, which operates the refining plants and major chemical production plants in around Plock, said it was awaiting further information on the progress of the EuroAsian Oil Transport Corridor.

“If PKN Orlen is presented with a more detailed business offer [for future deliveries via this pipeline extension], we will certainly analyse it,” said Orlen spokeswoman Joanna Puskar.

($1 = Zl 2.84 , €1 = Zl 4.03)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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