A Georgian court has taken control of the Black Sea oil terminal at Batumi after a legal case brought by shipping operators, a port official said on Monday.
The terminal is still operating but since Saturday has been under the control of the court which is dictating certain conditions about contracts, which plaintiffs said had been often changed by the owner-operator, Kazakh state energy company KazMunaiGas .
Reuters was unable to reach KazMunaiGas for comment.
"Yes, the property has been seized ... The terminal is working with some minor disruptions, but there is a risk that shipments may decline due to the situation," Batumi terminal Deputy Director Georgy Kiladze told Reuters.
"There is no force majeure ... The terminal continues its work," he added.
The Batumi oil terminal, handled 4.355 million tonnes of oil and oil products last year, down from 5.634 million in 2013, as some shipments have been diverted to the Baku-Tbilisi Ceyhan pipeline.
Several shipping companies complained that KazMunaiGas had violated contracts by increasing tariffs and creating other obstacles, Georgia's Deputy Economic Development Minister Natia Mikeladze said.
"According to these companies, the terminal owners don't fulfil conditions of contracts," Mikeladze told Reuters.
(Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)