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New Black Sea coal terminal potentially delayed until 2019: sources

London — Construction of a new coal terminal was expected to be completed thisyear, but a shipping source close to the project said this was likely to havebeen postponed until at least 2019.

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Russia-based holding company Oteko is funding the construction of theterminal. Oteko did not respond to a request for comment.

"The terminal should have been put into operation in 2018, but this seemsto have been postponed," the shipping source said. "We expect the firstshipments to be no earlier than 2019, and even this prognosis may be toooptimistic."

The proposed expansion at the Taman Port would increase capacity for allcommodities to 35 million mt from 20 million mt and would accommodate vesselsup to 220,000 mt, according to the shipping source. The current terminalexports LNG, grains and other dry bulk commodities, but does not export coal.

Reasons for the delay could not be unconfirmed.

One source said the rail links to the port will need to be revamped tohandle the higher quantity of commodities into the port.

Market sources said coal's expected share of exports is still unknown,but there is potential for vast volumes of coal to be exported which couldaffect the seaborne market, especially into Turkey, a market which Russia istrying to monopolize.

"We are keeping an eye on this project as it could impact price thedifferential into Turkey," a Northwest Europe-based trader said.

In January-November 2017, Turkey imported 1.1 million mt of thermal coalfrom Russia, up 11.9% from the same period in 2016, according to data from theTurkish Statistical Institute.

In 2017, Russia exported 185.14 million mt of coal, up 12% from 2016,according to data from the Russian Energy Ministry.

--Piers De Wilde, by Jonathan Dart,