Transneft Backs Turkish Crude Quota

Russia’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft may support quotas on oil shipments through Turkey's straits to fill a pipeline to the Mediterranean.

Transneft may take up to a 50% stake in the $3 billion Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline project, co-led by Italy's Eni , that will link the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and advance Turkey's plan to turn its southern port of Ceyhan into a regional energy hub.

"There is an idea to give all the crude oil to Samsun-Ceyhan and leave only oil products and petrochemicals across the straits," Transneft president, Nikolai Tokarev told Reuters.

"Or we could introduce quotas for each trader, and ship the rest of the oil through the pipeline."

Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles Strait are the only navigable route for tankers carrying oil from Black Sea ports to international markets in the Mediterranean. The two straits are bottlenecks for the amount of traffic they already handle.

" The ecological conditions are critical here from the boat traffic point of view," Tokarev said.

Turkish energy ties with Russia have been strengthened recently by nuclear agreements and Russia signing the South Stream pipeline deal with Greece on Monday, a deal of which Turkey has been a great supporter.

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