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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Politics Snarls Oil Pipeline

A diesel fuel pipeline between Russia and the Latvian port of Ventspils is in working order and resumed pumping last month, but supplies are not flowing at the moment, the head of the LatRosTrans pipeline operator said.

"The pipeline has been operational since early July and is in working order," Maya Kauvisha said by telephone Tuesday from the Latvian city of Daugavpils.

LatRosTrans, the Latvian-Russian joint venture operating the Latvian section of the pipeline, was formed last year to settle an ownership dispute between the two countries that closed the pipeline for almost two years.

Kauvisha said supplies from the Russian refining center of Samara had been disrupted by organizational bottlenecks, but she believed these would clear up soon.

"There are more and more [supply] agreements and offers being made, so the periods when the pipeline is not working will be less and less," she said.

A source at the dispatch department of the Ventspils Nafta oil terminal said the pipeline had opened and then closed again.

"It was working in July for about a week. About 50,000 tons were pumped, then it stopped," he said.

Kauvisha said about 70,000 tons had been pumped to the Baltic port since the pipeline reopened.

She said difficulties in ensuring regular supplies were compounded by the fact that the pipeline crossed the borders of different former Soviet states.

"The fuel has to cross Russia and Belarus," she said. "We are talking about different states and the fuel has various Russian owners ... Earlier it was state fuel and a state pipeline.

"As time goes on, trust will grow [between the countries]. There will be less checks on each other ... It is a question of organization, nothing to do with technology," she said.

Ventspils has been receiving fuel by rail since the pipeline was closed in late 1992 after Latvia claimed ownership of the section on its territory.