Comment: Kremlin support of Transneft hinders private Russian pipeline projects

Since the beginning of 2003, Russia's oil pipeline monopoly AK Trans- neft has demonstrated its growing influence, resisting pressure from oil companies and winning support from key government officials, including Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. In early January, Kasyanov ruled out the possibility of private oil pipelines such as those contemplated by Russia's oil majors. The government also approved of Transneft's decision to halt Russia's oil exports through Latvia. These developments clearly benefit Transneft at the expense of oil exporters and the state budget. Private oil pipelines—in particular the one linked to the proposed Murmansk terminal project—may...

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