November 17, 2011 / 4:22 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Start of Ust-Luga loadings delayed -trade

* Traders report talk of quay collapse

* Six cargoes had been expected from Ust-Luga by year end

* Gdansk seen handling four cargoes in Dec (Adds trader, industry quotes, background on loadings in Baltic outlets)

By Gleb Gorodyankin and Denis Pinchuk

MOSCOW, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Possible problems with infrastructure at Russia’s new Baltic oil terminal at Ust-Luga could delay its first crude loading, scheduled for Nov. 30, for an undetermined period, trade and industry sources said on Thursday.

“There won’t be any loadings on those dates, and it isn’t clear what there could be in December,” one industry source said.

The first cargo was sold to trader Warly by state oil company Rosneft last week at an undisclosed price.

The Ust-Luga terminal, the end of the second phase of the Baltic Pipeline System (BTS-2), had been expected to handle five more cargoes in December, including parcels from Rosneft and possibly Surgutneftegas and TNK-BP.

A port spokesman declined to comment.

“I hear Ust-Luga is in far from perfect shape,” a Urals trader said. “I hear the quay collapsed.”

Other sources in port circles gave differing forecasts for the start of loadings.

One source said the first cargo could be loaded on Dec. 3.

“The quay is in fine shape. It hasn’t collapsed and could receive ships in November. According to our plans the first ship will sail Nov. 29-30,” said another source involved in state oversight of the port.

A spokesman for pipeline monopoly Transneft, which operates BTS-2 but does not operate the terminal itself, declined to comment on a possible start to shipments.

“All of our infrastructure is ready for launch. We have completed our own infrastructure, but all the rest of the infrastructure must be ready too,” Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said by telephone.

Traders said Russian exports via the Polish Baltic port of Gdansk could continue in December as a result.

“I think that in Gdansk in December there could be three or four cargoes, probably four,” said another industry source, adding that Transneft would decide where to distribute excess volumes in the Transneft system if Ust-Luga is shut in.

Gdansk is expected to handle 585,000 tonnes of Russian crude this month, but traders had expected it to run dry next month with the launch of Ust-Luga, which had also been expected to sap volumes from Primorsk. (Reporting by Gleb Gorodyankin; Writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Jane Baird)

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