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Astana, Kazakhstan • 23 June, 2022 | 11:13

Shipment of Kazakh Oil from Novorossiysk Restricted

Claims point to explosive ordnance disposal as the reason

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The Caspian Pipeline Consortium's (CPC) oil shipment in Novorossiysk, which has already been operating at a reduced capacity until the end of the month, may suspend its activity periodically due to the procedure of removing unexploded torpedoes and mines left on the seabed from World War II, according to Kapital.

Continued survey

The news was initially reported by the Russian daily newspaper, Kommersant, which made the claim that some 50 potentially dangerous objects have been found in the waters near the CPC's shipping facilities.

According to several sources, the water area near the consortium's loading facilities was closed on June 16 in order to investigate the threat level of the munitions. The Port of Novorossiysk Administration announced that the survey would continue until the end of June with Kommersant reporting the next de-mining operation to be scheduled for 20 June. 

The Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport (Rosmorrechflot), which manages issues related to the security of maritime transportation, could not confirm this information, citing that they were not aware of anything concerning the order.

The consortium's website announced that a meeting was held on 18 June 2022 by the leadership of CPC Director-General Nikolay Gorban with the management of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. The discussion centered on conducting a continued survey of the water area of FPU-1 and FPU-2 for the detection of explosive objects on the seabed.

During the meeting, procedures were developed for further side-scan sonar survey work on a number of targets. It was determined that confirmation of mine-like object data would be carried out by mobile diving teams and a remotely operated unmanned underwater vehicle (ROV). Confirmed explosive ordnance based on hazard identification will be moved to the place of destruction (in the sea, outside the TLU).

The CPC is the main route for transporting oil from Kazakhstan to Western markets. Oil from the pipe is shipped to tankers via a marine terminal near Novorossiysk, equipped with three offshore mooring facilities. 

 On June 15, the CPC announced that it was shutting down PMU-1 and PMU-2 to survey the water area, while PMU-3 continued normal operations.

It had already shut down two TLUs less than three months ago when they were damaged during a storm. Experts estimate that the global market lost about 1 million b/d of oil during the three weeks of repair work.

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