Gazprom Neft Refused Pipeline Access

Gazprom Neft failed to secure pipeline space to export crude to China through the end of the year, the company said Wednesday.

The Industry and Energy Ministry did not explain why Gazprom Neft's application was rejected, said Natalya Vyalkina, a spokeswoman for the oil producer. The company, which had sought to export 1.1 million tons of crude to China, will challenge the decision, she said.

Both Gazprom Neft and TNK-BP were allowed to ship 150,000 tons of oil to China across Kazakhstan through the Atasu-Alashankou pipeline in the first quarter. State-run Rosneft ships oil to China by rail as Russia has no pipeline of its own to China.

TNK-BP, BP's Russian joint venture, received approval to ship 500,000 tons of oil to China through Kazakhstan from April though December of this year, Interfax said. An agreement signed by Kazakhstan and Russia in November provides for the transit of up to 5 million tons of Siberian crude a year, the news service said.