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BP may agree to pay directly for oil transit via South Ossetia – opinion

BP may agree to pay directly to South Ossetia for transit of oil via its 1.5-km-long section of the Baku-Supsa pipeline.

EADaily quotes the leader of the Your Choice, Ossetia civic movement Alan Dzhussoyev as saying that BP may agree to pay to South Ossetia as instability in oil business implies financial and reputational losses.

On July 11, Georgia’s Interior Ministry reported that “Russian occupational forces” had moved the border with Georgia deeper into the country. More specifically, they are said to have placed boundary signs south of the South Ossetian villages of Tsinagar and Orchosan – an area hosting a section of the Baku-Supsa pipeline. The pipeline is owned by the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation and has been given on a long-term lease to BP. Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze is worried that now South Ossetia may claim money for the transit of oil via its territory. So, he suggests building a section bypassing South Ossetia.

According to Dzhussoyev, any pause in transit may cause a rise in oil prices.

“The Georgians will first appeal to the Russians. If the Russian refuse to settle the situation, they will contact the South Ossetian, which implies involvement of Azerbaijani and BP representatives in the Geneva discussions. If the Georgians fail to solve the problem in the Karasin-Abazhidze format, they will try to solve it on the quiet. The transit party will try to keep the real results of the talks secret so as to avoid negative consequences – for the very fact of the talks means legitimization of South Ossetia,” Dzhussoyev says.

As EADaily reported earlier, the Georgian Prime Minister’s special representative for relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze is going to meet with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin so as to discuss the reports that the South Ossetians are moving dividing lines deep into the territory of some borderline Georgian villages. The National Security Committee of South Ossetia explained that the South Ossetian authorities are carrying out scheduled measures to demarcate the border but are doing this on a unilateral basis as the Georgians have refused to take part in this project. They have already placed border signs near the villages of Balta, Tsnelis, Orchosan and Tsinagar and have restored signs near the villages of Ioncha and Disev.

According to South Ossetian official Khokh Gagloity, none of the border signs has been placed outside the sovereign territory of South Ossetia. He has invited BP to conduct a direct dialogue with South Ossetia concerning the Baku-Supsa pipeline. “In case of problems, they are free to contact us directly and we will do our best to ensure the pipeline’s normal operation,” Gagloity says.

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