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Investors Mull 2nd Coal Terminal at Ust-Luga Port

The head of the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga said a number of investors were considering the construction of a second coal terminal with an annual capacity of up to 10 million tons.

"Pre-development work is under way on the possible siting of a terminal with a capacity of 10 million tons of coal per year. It is difficult for me to say who the investors will be," Maxim Shirokov said. "There is an entire pool of investors."

In March, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov had said SUEK, Russia's largest steam coal miner, would build the terminal.

SUEK could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Kuzbassrazrezugol, the nation's second-largest steam coal miner, accounts for the bulk of exports from the port of Ust-Luga. That company alone is expected to ship 11 million tons this year.

Total exports from Ust-Luga could reach 13 million to 14 million tons next year, Shirokov said. The port's total coal exports were 8.9 million tons in 2010.

Mining companies in Russia, the world's third-largest coal exporter, are expected to invest heavily in rail cars and port capacity in the coming years to overcome bottlenecks.

The port is also set to become a major oil exporter thanks to the second phase of the Baltic Pipeline System, which sources said will allow the port to start loadings next month.

Shirokov said Ust-Luga, which is a major hub for energy trader Gunvor, is expected to ship 15 million to 17 million tons of crude in 2012 and about 20 million tons in 2013.

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