The Caspian pipeline, CPC, will be ready to get commercial oil flows from the newly launched Kazakh Kashagan oil field only in the spring, a senior official at Russia's oil pipeline monopoly said Friday, suggesting an alternative route for the oil.
"We are counting on receiving Kashagan's oil in commercial volumes through the CPC likely in March-April," Mikhail Barkov, Transneft's vice president said, adding that meanwhile Transneft's Samara pipeline could serve as an alternative.
He has said the expansion program of the CPC, where Transneft is a shareholder, is behind schedule by up to a year.
Kazakhstan expects Kashagan, the world's biggest oil find in decades, to achieve commercial production in October and produce about 8 million tons of crude in 2014.
A CPC spokesman in Moscow said the shipments from Kashagan would begin in late October.