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Kazakhstan Oil Piped Into China
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A recently completed oil pipeline became operational on Thursday with crude oil flowing from Kazakhstan into Xinjiang in northwest China.


Oil arrived in Alataw Pass, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, at 3:10 AM Thursday about 30 hours after Kazakhstan had started to pump oil through the pipeline, according to customs officers at the Pass.


Technicians with the Sino-Kazakh Oil Pipeline Co. Ltd opened the valve on the China-Kazakhstan border at 7:32 PM Tuesday after instructions were received from their Kazak counterparts in Atasu, who started pumping oil into the pipeline at 8:22 PM.


Experts say construction of the oil pipeline is beneficial to both countries as it improves China's oil supply and provides an ideal export outlet for Kazakhstan.  


"It has provided a direct link between Kazakhstan's rich oil resources and China's robust oil consumer market," said Yin Juntai, deputy general-manager of China Petroleum Exploration and Development Company.


Kairgeldy Kabyldin, vice president of Kazakhstan National Petroleum and Natural Gas Company, described the pipeline as a "new paradigm of cooperation" between the two countries.


The 962 kilometer pipeline, running between Atasu in Kazakhstan to the Alataw Pass of Xinjiang, was completed in November 2005. The costs of US$700 million project were shared between the two countries. It’s designed to carry 20 million tons of oil annually.


In 2005 China imported 1.3 million tons of crude oil from Kazakhstan via Alataw Pass. Business insiders predict the figure will climb to 4.75 million tons this year and to around 8 million tons in 2007.


(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2006)

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