Belarusian Oil Company (BOC) has denied media reports that the Venezuelan crude currently supplied to the Mazyr oil refinery is of lower quality than provided for by the contract and similar to Russia’s Urals brand crude.
"These reports are false," BOC spokesman Andrey Sinitsyn told BelaPAN. "This cannot be Urals oil, which is produced in Russia’s Tatarstan and Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region."
On May 3, Belarus’ private news agency AFN reported with reference to a source in oil industry circles that the oil delivered by rail to the Mazyr refinery from Ukraine’s Odessa seaport on May 2 was very similar to Urals brand crude and was not light sweet Santa Barbara crude, and that the contents of sulfur, vanadium and coke are higher than specified in the contract.
As of Tuesday morning, three trains laden with Venezuelan oil had arrived at the Mazyr refinery, with 10,000 tons pumped into storage tanks, a source at the refinery told BelaPAN.
After 30,000 tons is accumulated, the oil will be examined by experts for quality and then start being processed, the source said, noting that the oil was of high quality.
The first 57-car train carrying oil from Venezuela arrived at the refinery on Sunday morning. A total of 22 trains are expected to deliver the first Venezuelan shipment of 80,000 tons to the Mazyr refinery.
The pilot shipment was brought to Ukraine’s Odessa seaport on April 25 by the Sea Star, an 820-foot-long tanker flying the flag of Malta.
Under a contract signed in Caracas on March 17, up to four million tons of oil is to be supplied to Belarus before the end of the year.
The Belarusian authorities are said to be in talks with Ukraine about the possibility of using the Odessa-Brody pipeline for the delivery of Venezuelan crude oil to Belarus. The terms of the deliveries are expected to be agreed upon by June 1.