Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Caspian: Kulevi volumes double

The Georgian Black Sea port of Kulevi, which is majority-owned by Socar, transhipped 333,000 tons of crude oil and products in January, more than double the volume lifted in January 2010. The terminal, which came on stream in June 2008, is steadily increasing throughput as more shippers, including Tengizchevroil, use its facilities.

Among the two main users are Ocean Energy, the trading arm of Dubai-based Middle East, and Sumato Energy, which last year began exporting gas oil produced by Socar from its two Baku refineries. Rival port Batumi, which is 100 per cent owned by Kazmunaigas, is suffering a further drop in throughput as Kulevi prospers; in January, the terminal transhipped 453,000 tons of crude and products, which represents a year-on-year drop of more than 20 per cent, with exports in February dropping even lower to just 360,000 tons.

Batumi is fast losing its status as an oil products outlet, handling mostly crude oil from Kazakhstan – mostly from TCO and Geneva based trader Euro Asian – plus Azeri Light brought in by rail from ExxonMobil. Most of the transportation to Batumi is handled by the terminal's marketing arm Petrotrans.

For more news and expert analysis about the Caspian region, please see Caspian Focus.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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