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Putin: Oil Pipeline Will Serve China First

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia's trans-Siberian oil pipeline's first exports will be to China, and not Japan, according to a Wall Street Journal report.


In a meeting with Western analysts and journalists at the Kremlin late on Monday, Putin said oil will first be transported to China's oil center in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, according to the newspaper, citing participants of the meeting.


"The Daqing pipeline will be built first," Putin reportedly told the group. "But we will also build to Nakhodka."


The Russian government refused to comment on the report.


According to the newspaper, construction of the pipeline is to begin late this year, with the first stage capable of carrying 30 million metric tons of crude oil annually from the Siberian city of Taishet to Skovorodino near the Chinese border.


From there, the pipeline is expected to take two-thirds of the oil south to Daqing, while the remaining 10 million metric tons would be shipped by rail to a new port to be built on the Pacific coast near Nakhodka. The project is expected to be completed around 2008.


Putin also pledged to expand the line's capacity to 50 million metric tons a year, or roughly 1.2 million barrels per day, and to extend the line all the way to the Pacific coast some time in the future, the newspaper reported.


Putin reiterated Russia's plan to expand its oil production amid worries about declining global petroleum supplies.


(China Daily September 9, 2005)

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