(Reuters) – Russia is working on a plan to construct oil storage facilities and new exporting outlets, which would help it offset sanctions that have hampered its oil sales, officials said on Tuesday.
Russia has struggled with sales of its crude oil and oil products as sanctions over Ukraine have complicated financing of trade deals and hire vessels, while the United States introduced its ban on oil imports from Russia last month.
The restrictions have led to Russian oil production and exports decline.
Russia does not have large oil storage, which would allow it for more flexibility in production and exports.
“Some companies have been engaged in such projects and have been implementing it,” Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin told reporters.
Igor Shpurov, head of Russian State Commission on minerals, told reporters that Russia may set up storage facilities in underground salt caverns in East Siberia, the region of the Volga river and the Urals.
He added that construction of such storage of no less than 100 million tonnes, or more than 700 million barrels may take up to 4 years.
That’s compared to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve of 568.3 million barrels as of the end of March.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the government last week to present a plan by June 1 including on “expanding transport infrastructure to countries of Africa, Latin America (and the) Asia Pacific.”
Energy Ministry’s Sorokin told a separate meeting at Russian upper house of parliament that Russia saw possibility of setting up additional infrastructure for exporting oil in northern ports of Murmansk and Indiga.
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Sandra Maler)