10/27/2011, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Russian companies vying for the port of Rotterdam

Summa Capital, which will build a new oil terminal in the Netherlands, wants to set up a joint venture with Transneft. The goal is to make Ural crude a benchmark for international markets.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – Pipeline monopoly Transneft plans to expand abroad and its first stop is Rotterdam. The company is vetting the possibility of building a new oil terminal in the Dutch port, which is the world hub for the oil trade, in a joint venture with fellow Russian investment group Summa Capital.

The Russian government backs the plan, especially the powerful Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin. The aim is to turn Ural crude (which reaches Rotterdam from the port of Primorsk) into a benchmark for international markets, like the US Brent, Russian online newspaper gazeta.ru reports citing Russian energy industry sources.

After winning the bid with Dutch company VTTI for the construction of the new oil terminal in Rotterdam, Summa Capital, which is controlled by Dagestan businessman Ziyavudin Magomedov, asked Transneft to set up a joint venture to trade Russian crude, Transneft Chairman Nikolai Tokarev said.

According to the two companies, Rotterdam’s Tank Terminal Europort West (or TEW) should be an "open hub" for Ural crude and any supplier or buyer.

The terminal, which will begin operations in 2015, will more than double the volume of Russian crude deliveries to the Dutch city to between 50 million-55 million metric tonnes, up from 25 million tonnes now.

However, Transneft should not have “a direct interest in participating in the joint venture”, said Dmitry Alexandrov of Univer Investment Company. For him, the Rotterdam hub would have been far more interesting for oil traders, like Gunvor, Russia’s main oil trader, than a pipeline company.

For this reason, Transneft’s alliance with Summa Capital in Rotterdam should be seen from a broader perspective for the Russian giant.

With a monopoly over Russian oil pipelines, Transneft “intends to develop its global presence through entering the port infrastructure market in Europe”, Alexandrov believes, “and, perhaps, in future, in Asia as well”. (N.A.)
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