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Russia: Siberian oil pipeline’s 2nd stage to build in 2009

The construction of the second stage of an oil pipeline being built from East Siberia to the Pacific Ocean could begin in the H2 of 2009, a project manager said on Wednesday.

The East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline project is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia’s Far East and then on to China and the Asia-Pacific region. “The project’s feasibility study is to undergo a state expert study in December 2008. If the Russian government gives a special instruction, we could launch the construction of the project’s second stage in the H2 of 2009,” said Sergei Sergeyev, head of the ESPO-2 project management center. Sergeyev said the project’s second stage was estimated at 320-330 billion rubles (about $13 billion) in 2006 prices, and would take at least four years.

The ESPO first stage envisages the construction of a 2,757-kilometer (1,713-mile) section with capacity of 30 million tons (220.5 million bbl) of oil per year. The project’s first leg will link Taishet, in East Siberia’s Irkutsk Region, to Skovorodino, in the Amur Region, in Russia’s Far East.

The project’s first leg, estimated at $11 billion, was expected to be commissioned in December 2008. However, project operator Transneft said on February 7 that the commissioning of the project would be delayed from late 2008 to late 2009. The second leg will stretch for 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles) from Skovorodino to the Pacific. It will pump 367.5 million barrels of oil annually. The second stage also envisages an increase in the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline’s capacity to 588 million barrels. (