Transneft to build pipeline bypassing Belarus

MOSCOW, February 5 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia's oil transportation company Transneft on Monday approved a technical design for an export oil pipeline bypassing Belarus.

"We have made a decision and will develop the Baltic Pipeline System along the Unecha (on the border with Belarus) to the port of Primorsk," Transneft CEO Semyon Vainshtok told Vesti television news channel.

He stressed the purpose was to "increase the capacity of the port terminal by 50 million tonnes of oil."

"The first stage is to increase the capacity of the BPS by 50 million tonnes, and we are actively working on this. :One hundred and ninety-six prospecting engineers are to start working on the ground on February 12," Vainshtok said.

"This is of course very costly, very very costly. We discussed this with colleagues that if we did not have such big risks from adjacent states, we would not have to spend so much money on this," he said.