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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Transneft: Oil Export Data Has Been Skewed

Pipeline monopoly Transneft said Wednesday that it believed volumes of oil exported by rail and river were far higher than any official data show.

Transneft said privately owned oil companies shipped as much as 1.2 million barrels per day of oil during the summer months via river and rail, some 10 times more than Energy Ministry figures.

River and rail exports bypass the state-run pipeline network, which is already pumping oil at full capacity, and are much more difficult for the government to measure and regulate.

Volumes bypassing Transneft usually decrease when rivers freeze over for the winter, and annual average river and rail exports stand at 600,000 bpd, the head of Transneft, Semyon Vainshtok, told reporters.

The Energy Ministry typically estimates total Russian exports including Azeri and Kazakh oil at about 3.5 million bpd, but they include only about 150,000 bpd of oil shipped by river and rail.

Transneft's estimate shows how oil companies are increasingly relying on river barges and rail tanks to ship volumes to lucrative Western markets after four consecutive years of growth.

Vainshtok said Transneft exports were set to remain flat until 2003, when Russian firms would start using a new 100,000-bpd export line to the Croatian port of Omisalj on the Adriatic.

He also said Transneft planned a further upgrade of the country's largest 900,000-bpd Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, but did not give details.