Klaipeda oil reconstruction drags on

  • 1998-09-10
VILNIUS (BNS) - Lithuania's Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil) terminal is having serious problems in its dealings with the Dutch contractor Tebodin, which is carrying out reconstruction of the terminal.

At the request of Klaipedos Nafta Director General Martinas Gusiatinas, a special commission with representatives of two ministries has been formed to investigate the Klaipeda firm's dissatisfaction with the work of the Dutch contractor, the newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reports. The dispute between Klaipedos Nafta and Tebodin arose in mid-1997 after the Netherlands-based company failed to improve shoddy work, according to Gusiatinas. The shortcomings have not been eliminated to date, preventing the terminal from utilizing its heating system.

There are disagreements with Tebodin regarding rail linkages with the terminal as well. With these facilities not functioning properly, Klaipedos Nafta is experiencing colossal losses.

"We are not seeing Tebodin making the necessary efforts to finish the project properly on time. The company is experiencing losses, which give rise to a genuine threat that Klaipedos Nafta may not be able to settle with the banks, footing the bill for reconstruction, on time," Gusiatinas wrote in a letter to the Lithuanian administration.

The state has provided guarantees for loans totaling the almost 230 million litas needed for the terminal's reconstruction.

Though construction was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, the State Quality-Control Commission has not yet given its approval even to the first stage of construction.

The export of oil products through the port of Klaipeda has decreased by 45 percent this year from the 1997 level, with only 1.2 million tons of diesel fuel and heating oil having been exported.