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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Oil Exports Via White Sea Expected to Triple

LONDON -- Oil shipments from the White Sea will probably grow in the next two years as companies such as state-owned Rosneft boost output from northern fields and win European sales from producers in the North Sea and Persian Gulf.

Russia last year shipped about 2.5 million tons, or about 17.5 million barrels, of crude and oil products by tanker to Western markets from Arkhangelsk and Vitino, said Jean-Fran?ois Vincke, a broker at Riverlake Shipbrokers in Geneva.

"We expect oil volumes for both crude and products to triple in the next two years," he said by telephone. "There will be a growing need for smaller tankers for these exports."

Russian companies are chartering tankers to haul loads of as much as 50,000 tons from the White Sea, with the oil coming from newly tapped fields near the Arctic Circle. Most of Russia's oil goes to Europe across the Black and Baltic seas, where it is often held up by bottlenecks in pipelines and shipping delays in the Bosporus and Dardanelles.

Oil producers have urged the government to build pipelines and ports to help them increase exports and grab market share from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Output has risen about 40 percent since 1998 to 8.4 million barrels per day, behind only Saudi Arabia.

A Rosneft spokeswoman and a spokesman for top producer LUKoil declined to comment. Both companies are based in Moscow. White Sea ports are too shallow to dock vessels such as 2 million-barrel very large crude carriers. Instead, smaller shuttle tankers deliver oil from Arkhangelsk and Vitino to larger ships moored at Murmansk in the Barents Sea.

Rosneft last month began loading oil onto a 2.5 million-barrel crude tanker in Murmansk, said the ship's owner, Bergesen. The vessel, the Belokamenka, is on a 15-year contract, Oslo-based Bergesen said.

Crude will be stored on the Belokamenka until it can be transferred to other ships that will deliver the oil to Rotterdam, Europe's largest oil port, Vincke said.

Rosneft plans to export about 360,000 barrels of oil this year from its terminal in Arkhangelsk, the company said in January. It expects to handle the same amount in 2005.

The company last year acquired Severnaya Neft, owner of the Val Gambertseva oil field in the Nenets autonomous district and the developer of Arctic fields with U.S. major ConocoPhilips.

Rosneft this year is scheduled to start exporting oil produced in northern Russia from Ob Bay in the Kara Sea, Vincke said. In the next decade, the company plans to start exporting from Dikson, a port on the Kara Sea's Gulf of Yenisei.