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BAKU, June 1 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's oil shipments via Russia jumped to 573,838 in the first five months of this year, from 319,499 tonnes in the same period last year, state oil company SOCAR said on Thursday.
The increase was partly because SOCAR shipped no oil via the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline in January and February last year, before resuming exports the following month after signing an agreement with Russian pipeline monopoly AK Transneft .
SOCAR aims to increase its shipments via Russia to 1.5 million tonnes this year. Last year it shipped 1.2 million tonnes, down 4.8 percent from 2015.
Azerbaijan sends only a small portion of its oil exports via Russia, using routes through Georgia and Turkey for the bulk of its crude shipments.
SOCAR's crude has a lower sulphur content than Russia's Urals blend. The company receives crude from Transneft to fill its loading slots at the Novorossiisk oil terminal. (Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Susan Fenton)