March 23, the new crude terminal at Ust-Luga, part of the Baltic Pipeline System 2, has been launched. SeaNews that Sovcomflot’s “Nevsky Prospect” has loaded some 70,000 tons of crude and the tanker is now heading for Rotterdam. It is expected to arrive March 29 and is likely to unload at the Vopak Europoort terminal.
At the first stage, the terminal capacity will be 30 mn tons annually, stage 2 envisages an expansion to 38 mn tons. Two main issues for the market are the source of this volume and the impact of the new terminal on the existing cargo flows.
Traders expect that the launch of Ust-Luga will lead to a shift of crude traffic from Central European refineries to seabourne trade in North-West Europe. The preliminary export schedule of Transneft envisages increasing crude exports via Baltic ports 23.5% quarter-on-quarter. Ust-Luga in Q2 is scheduled to load 3.6 mn tons of crude. End 2011, Transneft communicated planned export volumes via Ust-Luga for the Baltic Pipeline System 2 of 10 million tons and 20 million tons. Seanews points at three possible sources for these volumes.
Gdansk will be the first to lose seaborne traffic. Naftoport terminal onto tankers loads Russian Urals crude delivered by the Druzhba pipeline. Transneft says that after the launch of the Baltic Pipeline System 2, Gdansk will lose all its Urals transit. According to the company, this volume will make some 5-7 million tons. Some volume will be reoriented from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Yuzhny. One more source can be Primorsk, the sea terminal for the Baltic Pipeline System 1. Transneft believes that traffic via Primorsk can be cut by 6-7 million tons. It should also be kept in mind that despite the conflict with Belarus, Transneft promises to maintain the transit volumes by the Druzhba pipeline. This leaves the question of filling the Baltic Pipeline System 2 unanswered for the market.
According to the RF Ministry of Energy forecast, crude production in Russia is to increase just 1% to make some 516 mn tons in 2012.
Photo; Vopak Europoort Terminal (Photo: Aeroview)
Source: SeaNews, 22-12-2012