Putin launches strategic oil pipeline to China



Putin launches strategic oil pipeline to China Moscow: Prime Minister Vladmir Putin on Sunday officially launched the Russian section of a strategic oil pipeline that delivers east Siberian oil to energy-hungry China, as Moscow stepped up efforts to diversify crude supplies from Europe to Asia-Pacific.

Putin, who rotated the handle of a valve on the just completed section of the 4,857 kilometres Eastern Siberia- Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline pipeline, said, "This is vital project for us as we diversify the deliveries of our strategic raw materials.

Thus far, we made the major deliveries to Europe. The Asia-Pacific region received unsubstantial volumes."

At the beginning of the opening ceremony Putin called the pipeline a multidimensional project to step up Moscow-Beijing energy cooperation.

"I am absolutely confident that Russian oil will enter China this year," Putin said.

The pipeline to the Chinese border opened by Putin in Skovorodino in the Amur Territory in Russia's far east is spur of the main the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline, which was launched into operation in December 2009 and is designed to pump up to 1.6 million barrels (220,000 tons) of crude per day from Eastern Siberia to the Far East and then on to China and the Asia-Pacific region.

The Russia-China pipeline spur from the town of Skovorodino in the Amur region to the city of Daqing in China's north-eastern Heilongjiang province is designed to pump 15 million tons of oil per annum under the loan for oil deal between Russia's Rosneft, oil pipeline monopoly Transneft and China's state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

In line with the contract, the Chinese side provided the Russian companies with a USD 25-billion loan to construct the pipeline.

In exchange, the Russian side agreed to pump 15 million tons of oil per year via the pipeline in 2011-2030, RIA Novosti reported.

In his televised comments Putin called the pipeline a 'multidimensional project' to step up Moscow-Beijing energy cooperation.

"This is vital project for us as we diversifying deliveries of our strategic raw materials. So far, we made the major deliveries to Europe. The Asia-Pacific region received insignificant volumes," Putin said.

"We will deliver 30 million tons of oil and, in case of expansion, 50 million tons to the Asia-Pacific Region," Putin was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

"The implementation of this project is a crucial task for Russia and our Chinese friends.

It means stabilisation of supplies and energy balance for China, and for us it creates entry to new challenging markets, in this particular case, to the growing market of China," Putin said.

He recalled that the two sides had to go through complicated issues, including the route and pricing.

China had wanted the East Siberia pipeline to go directly to China and from there Russian oil could go for export to other countries.

However, to avoid the situation of becoming hostage to single buyer, Moscow extended it to its Pacific coast and offered China a spur pipeline.

Putin noted that it was now upto China to complete remaining 930 kilometres of pipeline on its soil to make it fully operational.

So far Russia had been exporting crude to China via railway tankers.

PTI