Oil from Georgia

March 19, 1999, 08:00 CET

The first cargo of Statoil crude from the Georgian port of Supsa on the Black Sea is due to be shipped in May.

This follows the arrival of oil from the Azeri-Chirag field in the Caspian on 11 March. These supplies began their journey to the Supsa terminal via the western pipeline on 10 December.

If everything goes according to plan, Statoil's first consignment of more than 590,000 barrels will leave in about two months. The first cargo from the new terminal is due to depart in April.

Oil now arriving in Supsa comes from the Sangachal terminal outside the Azerbaijan capital of Baku. This facility is run by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), which operates Azeri-Chirag.

The western line is the second export system for oil from this field, in which Statoil has an 8.56 per cent interest.

A northern pipeline from Sangachal to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk came into operation during October 1997.

Transport capacity in the 830-kilometre western line is 115,000 barrels per day, with opportunities for expansion to 220,000. The lease runs for 30 years.

An official inauguration of the Supsa terminal is planned for 17 April