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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TNK-BP Sets Deadline for Ukraine Pipeline

KIEV -- TNK-BP said Thursday that the Ukrainian government had until next week to accept its offer to supply oil for a long-idle pipeline -- an offer that requires the government to reverse the planned direction of the flow.

TNK-BP said it would revoke its offer to provide some 450,000 tons of oil if the government does not agree by Wednesday to operate the Odessa-Brody pipeline in reverse. In a statement, the company cited the need to finalize its investment strategy for 2004.

Ukraine built the 667-kilometer pipeline stretching from Odessa on the Black Sea coast to Brody in western Ukraine in 2001. But it has remained largely idle amid bickering over whether to accept Russian oil -- which would flow from Brody to Odessa, the port where Russian oil companies load onto tankers -- or Central Asian oil, which would flow from Odessa to Brody.

Russian and Caspian suppliers have been pressuring Ukraine's cash-strapped government to decide the pipeline's direction for months in a bid to boost exports to Europe while oil prices are high. Analysts say whoever gets their oil into the pipeline first will enjoy greater influence over the decision on permanent use.

TNK-BP has said its proposed volume is the minimum needed for the pipeline to operate. Meanwhile, Kiev has set Oct. 13 as the closing date for bids for a study looking at reversing the pipeline's intended flow, Interfax reported. The pipeline's final direction will be decided no earlier than November.