October 2, 2008

First Section of East Siberia Oil Pipeline Ready for Use, Putin Praises Progress

Excerpt from "Vesti" news report by state-owned Russian television channel Rossiya on 2 October

[Presenter] At another working meeting today, [Russian Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin discussed the construction of the strategic oil pipeline Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean, the ESPO. Its first 1,000-km-section, from Talakan to Tayshet, will be launched tomorrow, and it will start taking oil to the Angarsk oil refinery. [Passage omitted: background details]

As the prime minister said today, draft documentation for a separate branch [pipeline] to China has already been prepared.

[Putin] Over a thousand kilometres have been covered in a year and a half. This is the first stage. But the implementation of this project already gives us the chance to use this part of the pipeline. I would like to remind you that not only will this create additional opportunities for our oil companies from the point of view of new export routes, but we always proceeded from the fact that implementing this project would create the necessary additional base for integrated socio-economic development in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. They are regions which are very rich in natural resources, but which need special attention from the state, additional financing and additional business activity. This is exactly the project which has met this objective.

[Presenter] For now, the new pipeline will carry oil from fields in Western Siberia, but in the near future, according to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, development will start of [oil] wells in the eastern region. The main pipeline will be provided with the necessary resource base - this concerns 40m tonnes of oil a year.

[Sechin] We have developed the resource base to fill the mainline pipeline. At the first stage, it will involve oil from Western Siberia. Next year we expect the launch of the field in Vankorskoye, which is being carried out by Rosneft. It is quite clear that these fields will allow us to say that the necessary resource base will have been created for the ESPO to work normally.

Originally published by Rossiya TV, Moscow, in Russian 1300 2 Oct 08.

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