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China to launch branch of Russia pipeline in 2008 - extended

A Chinese contractor will start building the Beijing branch of Russia's East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline in 2008, the Russian industry and energy minister said Monday. The capacity could reach 30 million tons (220 million bbl) a year, Russia's industry and energy minister said Tuesday.

“The construction of the (Chinese) branch of the Siberia-Pacific pipeline will start after the completion of the project design work. Under the contract, the design work should end 208 days after the first payment from the Chinese sponsors. The first payment was received from the Chinese side in June 2007,” Viktor Khristenko said at a Sino-Russian energy panel in Beijing. Construction of the Beijing section will be managed by a Chinese contractor, Khristenko said.

The ESPO oil pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East, which will then be sent onto China and the Asia-Pacific region, and it was launched in April 2006. The first leg is 2,700 kilometers (1,677 miles) long and estimated at costing $11 billion, and will be commissioned in December 2008. Earlier, the CEO of pipeline monopoly Transneft, which is building the pipeline, said a branch to China would cost $436 million. He did not name dates, referring those who were interested to China National Petroleum Corporation. To date, Transneft has built 940 km (584 miles) of the pipeline, whose total length is more than 4,770 km (2,965 miles).

The capacity of a Chinese leg of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO) could reach 30 million tons (220 million bbl) a year, Russia's industry and energy minister said Tuesday. “There is an opportunity to build a Chinese leg from Skovorodino (in the Russian Far East) as part of the project," Viktor Khristenko said. “At the first stage its capacity could amount to 15 million tons (110 million bbl), and if the entire system is developed the capacity could hit 30 million (220 million bbl).” Khristenko said Transneft and China National Petroleum Corporation were cooperating successfully in designing the pipeline branch from Skovorodino Bay to the border with China.

At the first stage of the project's implementation, oil will be pumped from Taishet, in the East Siberian region of Irkutsk, to Skovorodino, in the Amur region, in Russia's Far East where it will be reloaded onto railway tanks for delivery to Kozmino Bay on Russia's Pacific Coast. The second stage will involve the construction of a Skovorodino-Kozmino pipeline, to pump 367.5 million barrels per year, and an increase in the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline's capacity to 588 million barrels. (