Reuters: Azerbaijan's national oil company, SOCAR, said on Monday it had begun exporting Azeri Light crude to Iran to compensate for export constraints imposed by a pipeline blast in Turkey and war in Georgia.
BAKU, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Azerbaijan's national oil company, SOCAR, said on Monday it had begun exporting Azeri Light crude to Iran to compensate for export constraints imposed by a pipeline blast in Turkey and war in Georgia.
The swap arrangement allows it to sell up to 300,000 tonnes via the Middle East Gulf over two months.
SOCAR will ship oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field across the Caspian Sea to the Iranian port of Neka, then Iran will export an equivalent volume out of its Middle East Gulf facilities.
"Despite the resumption of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan operations, SOCAR is shipping part of its share in ACG via Iran in order to speed its delivery to the world market," a SOCAR spokesman said.
The start of SOCAR deliveries coincides with a halt in deliveries of Azeri oil via the BP-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline after an explosion halted pipeline operations early this month.
Azeri oil was also shut in by a a stoppage in rail deliveries to Georgian ports when a rail bridge was knocked out in a brief war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
It also increased exports of oil products to Iran above current contract levels because of the rail outage in Georgia, the company said. Georgian ports are SOCAR's outlet for refined product sales to Europe.
SOCAR, which does not have priority access to the BTC pipeline, might deliver less than the 300,000 tonnes envisaged in the agreement with private trader East Energy as space becomes available in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
"It is possible that with the restart of BTC, the volume exported via Iran will decrease," the spokesman said. (Reporting by Lada Yevgrashina in Baku; writing by Melissa Akin in Moscow; editing by James Jukwey)