CAPACITY OF RUSSIA'S BALTIC PIPELINE SYSTEM MAY REACH 62MLN TONS IN 2005

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MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - The annual carrying capacity of Russia's Baltic Pipeline System will reach 62 million tons next year if the government adopts an appropriate resolution before the end of this year, Oleg Gordeyev, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Energy Industries, told a Moscow press conference Thursday.

"Even if the government signs an appropriate resolution only at the end of this year, Transneft will still be able to bring the Baltic Pipeline System's carrying capacity up to 62 million tons as early as 2005," Gordeyev said.

Earlier, Semyon Weinstok, Chief Executive of Transneft, told reporters that his company was ready to increase the carrying capacity of the Baltic Pipeline System to 62 million tons in 2005, on condition that the government assigned it the task in the fist half of 2004.

The Baltic Pipeline System is intended for pumping oil to Europe from deposits in Russia's Timan-Pechora area and western Siberia, and also in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan.

Industries & Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting last month that the Baltic Pipeline System had reached a capacity of 50 million tons already and that the ultimate target was 62 million. Over a period of one year, the pipeline's capacity has increased by 20 million tons, he added.

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