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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
Text of report by Russian newspaper Kommersant on 13 March; subheadings as published.
[Interview with Semen Mikhaylovich Vaynshtok, president of Transneft, conducted by Denis Rebrov; date and place not given; headlined "Semen Vaynshtok: Practically nothing depends on us"; published under the rubric "Business News"]
The head of Transneft on new Russian oil pipelines
The Russian-Bulgarian-Greek summit meeting will begin tomorrow within the framework of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Athens, which is scheduled for Thursday [15 March]. An intergovernmental agreement among the three countries on cooperation in building and operating an oil pipeline from Burgas in Bulgaria to Alexandroupolis in Greece is to be signed at this time. Transneft will be the operator of the oil pipeline. Transneft president Semen Vaynshtok told Kommersant about the conditions that the project will be realized under and of the situation with other Russian pipeline projects.
[Rebrov] Recently the Ministry of Industry and Energy announced that Burgas-Alexandroupolis would essentially become part of the Russian pipeline system - the companies will receive access to this oil pipeline under the very same principle as in Russia. So what volume might be pumped by the foreign companies that are now conducting talks on joining the project but intend to transport oil extracted outside Russia's borders? Have they ever discussed this question with you?
[Vaynshtok] At this point we have only a general understanding of how this project should be managed. We must form the planning company and announce a tender to do the work on planning and preparing the TEO [technical-economic substantiation]. After that, the decision on starting construction and financing is made in the established manner. We know how to do this, and we can do it quickly. I think that we will need about 18 months for construction. Actually we see Burgas-Alexandroupolis as part of our oil pipeline system. But at this point foreigners are not holding talks with us. Perhaps with our Bulgarian or Greek colleagues. We have 51 per cent, and we are not proposing to divide up our share with anyone else, so what sense is it for them to hold talks with us?
[Rebrov] Have the tariffs for the pipeline been agreed upon?
[Vaynshtok] How can we talk about the tariff when there is still no project documentation?
[Rebrov] And are talks under way on access to the pipeline?
[Vaynshtok] First, we are interested, as are they, in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis taking workload off the Bosporus. And we will reach an understanding with them that Transneft will be the operator of the project and access will be granted under a definite formula of how much the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC - Kommersant) should receive and how much the Russian side will receive.
[Rebrov] In what proportions will Russian oil and CPC oil be transported?
[Vaynshtok] It is still too early to talk about that. I am not going to name an amount that has not been agreed upon. But we have a method for resolving this issue.
[Rebrov] And when will a share in CPC be transferred to Transneft?
[Vaynshtok] That is not our problem. It is true, however, that it would be a lie to say that we do not know what is going on. We know that as of the …