MOSCOW, April 4 Russia's Transneft
has the technical capacity to pump 24 million tonnes of oil to
Belarus this year and could start pumping additional volumes
from April, an official at the oil pipeline monopoly told
Reuters on Tuesday.
On Monday, Russia agreed to restore oil supplies to Belarus
to 24 million tonnes after Minsk said it would pay off debt owed
to Russian natural gas exporter Gazprom.
Transneft could pump extra oil if it receives requests from
oil companies, Igor Demin said.
While most companies have already planned April exports and
booked vessels for the shipments, Demin said some still had
resources that they could export to Belarus this month.
To do so, Russia's Energy Ministry must issue additional
allocations for exports to Belarus above the current quota.
Transneft also must receive a message from Belarusian
refineries that they are able to process 20 million tonnes of
crude oil in the April-December period, Demin said.
Russian companies have an allocation to export 4 million
tonnes of crude oil to Belarus in April-June.
Russia earlier cut first-quarter oil supply plans to four
million tonnes from a planned 4.5 million due to a dispute over
Some traders say increasing exports to Belarus would help
Transneft overcome possible shortages of export capacity at
(Reporting by Olga Yagova and Katya Golubkova; editing by
Sujata Rao and Jason Neely)