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Transneft Opens Second Phase of ESPO Oil Pipe to Pacific Coast

OAO Transneft, Russia’s oil pipeline operator, opened the extension of a link across eastern Siberia that will allow it to double crude exports to Asian and Pacific markets.

The 327 billion-ruble ($10.6 billion) second phase of the the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean link was officially opened today at a ceremony attended by Transneft President Nikolay Tokarev in Khabarovsk, according to the Kremlin’s website. The pipeline, starting at fields in east Siberia, was extended to the port of Kozmino from Skovorodino near the Chinese border and boosts the port’s capacity to 600,000 barrels of crude a day.

ESPO, as Russia’s most expensive infrastructure project is known, is part of President Vladimir Putin’s effort to diversify energy exports away from Europe, the country’s main trading partner. Russia is in negotiations to build a gas pipeline to China and has been testing energy shipments via the so-called Northern Sea Route to Asian markets since 2010.

“The construction of an unified oil pipeline system from the Baltic to the Pacific is complete,” Tokarev said, according to the transcript on the Kremlin website.

In 2012, Japan received about 31 percent of ESPO crude exports from Kozmino, China took 24 percent and the U.S. took 22 percent, according to a Transneft presentation on Dec. 19.

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