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Azerbaijan to start oil sales in Americas

Azerbaijan plans to foray into markets in the Americas this spring as a part of a swap-deal between it, Belarus and Venezuela, the Azeri state energy company said on Friday.

According to a deal brokered last year, Azerbaijan will supply crude oil to Belarus on behalf of Venezuela and, in return, the Latin American country will provide its Santa Barbara oil to meet Azerbaijan's export commitments to the Americas markets.

Rovnag Abdullayev, the head of SOCAR, did not go into details, although SOCAR's other official told Reuters the deal would be discussed at the meeting between representatives of Azerbaijan, Belarus and Venezuela on March 6-7 in Minsk.

Azerbaijan would supply Belarus and receive oil from Venezuela, delivering it to Americas markets on tankers.

The oil destined for Belarus would be sent through Ukraine via the pipeline from Odessa on the Black Sea to Brody. "We are talking about total deliveries of 4-10 million tonnes of oil per year," an official, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.

"Sides will discuss price issues... Issues of volumes will be discussed every month and I think we are talking about monthly volumes of 5-6 aframax cargoes," he added.

During a visit to Minsk last October, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez agreed to supply the former Soviet republic with 30 million tonnes of oil over three years starting from 2011 in a deal worth as much as $19.4 billion.

Source: Reuters

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