Transneft Requests 21% Rise in Shipping Fees

Oil pipeline monopoly Transneft has requested the Federal Tariffs Service to allow it to raise its oil-shipping fee by an average of 21 percent in 2009, an agency official said Monday.

"Transneft has requested to raise the fee by an average of 21 percent, and the relevant document was submitted to the service last week," the official said.

The country's oil companies have warned the government against raising tariffs, citing higher costs and falling oil prices, while access to Western financial resources is limited.

Transneft's spokesman said his company was waiting for the service's approval of next year's tariffs but declined to provide the figures.

Transneft raised its oil-shipping fee twice in 2008, by 19.4 percent in January and by 10.7 percent in August.

The company has explained the August rise by increased costs of the construction of the Asian pipeline, the country's first oil pipeline to the region.

The oil-shipping fee is the only source of profit for the pipeline monopoly, which has new pipeline projects and needs to maintain its infrastructure.

Transneft's head Nikolai Tokarev said in September that the tariff would not be raised sharply.