Ukraine began regular transportation of the Azeri Light blend of crude oil via the Odesa-Brody pipeline in direct mode (towards Brody) to the Mozyr petroleum refinery in Belarus at 16:30 on February 13.
The Ukrtransnafta oil transport company announced this in a statement.
On February 11, the Southern [Pivdennyi] sea oil terminal accepted second tanker carrying 85,000 tons of Azeri Light oil.
Unloading of the Seaoath tanker finished on February 12 and on the next day they started pumping oil towards Belarus.
The Southern terminal expects accept the next tanker batch of oil on February 14, 2011.
The first tanker intended for the Mozyr petroleum refinery was received at the oil terminal in late January.
According to Ukrtransnafta, transportation of Caspian crude oil in the Brody direction increases the capacity at which the oil transport system is operating; strengthens the energy security of Ukraine, the countries in the region, and Europe in general; confirms the role of Ukraine as a reliable transit country; strengthens its status as one of the key factors for diversification of energy supplies to the Caspian-Black Sea region.
Azeri crude oil is delivered for transportation via the Odesa-Brody pipeline under swap mechanisms with Venezuela.
The Odesa-Brody and Druzhba oil pipelines are presently filled with technological crude oil of the Urals blend (430,000 and 120,000 tons, respectively).
As Caspian crude oil arrives, Russian crude oil will be pumped out of these pipelines, particularly for further processing at Belarusian petroleum refineries.
Deputy Energy and Coal Industry Minister Ihor Kiriushin recently forecast that supply of Azeri crude oil to the Halychyna petroleum refinery (Drohobych, Lviv region) and the Naftokhimik Prykarpattia petroleum refinery (Nadvirna, Ivano-Frankivsk region) will begin after removal of the technological oil; this process may be completed by April.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Ukrtransnafta and the Belarusian Oil Company (BNK) on January 17 arranged provision of services for transmission of 4 million tons of light oil a year via the Odesa - Brody pipeline until 2013.
The relevant contract is valid for two years, with the option of extension by mutual agreement.
The agreement provides for guarantees of transit of not less than 4 million tons with possible increase to 8 million tons.
A test batch of 80,000 tons of oil was pumped along the Odesa - Brody pipeline in direct mode in November 2010.