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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Caspian Pipeline Reopens After Chechen Banditry

The troubled Baku-Novorossiisk oil pipeline resumed operations Tuesday after being shut twice over the May Day holiday weekend when bandits attempted to siphon off crude from Chechen sections of the pipeline, officials said Wednesday.

Despite continuing difficulties with keeping the pipeline open, Russian oil pipeline network operator Transneft is committed to overcoming the delays and fulfilling a BP Amoco request to ship 138,000 metric tons of oil through the pipeline in May, said a Transneft official, who declined to be identified.

The pipeline, which has the capacity to transport 100,000 barrels per day from the Azeri oil fields to the Black Sea, has now been shut for a total of 30 days since the start of this year, Itar-Tass reported.

It normally takes about half a day to spot an illegally inserted tap and eliminate the breach, the Transneft official said.

Transshipment to the port of Novorossiisk was already 120,000 metric tons behind schedule in the first quarter, Itar-Tass reported.

Officials from the BP Amoco-led Azerbaijan International Operating Consortium, one of the pipeline's main users, were reported as saying that frequent failures on the Russian pipeline may prompt a heavier reliance on an alternative pipeline running to Georgia's Black Sea port of Supsa.

The AIOC last month was forced to halve its 100,000 bpd crude production after the Chechen government closed the pipeline over payment arrears.