August 26, 2008

Espo Pipeline to Ship First Oil in October

YAKUTSK. Aug 25 (Interfax) - The Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline will begin transporting oil in October.

"First oil will be shipped in the reverse direction on the Talakan-Taishet segment in October," said Sergei Sergeyev, the general director of TsUP ESPO LLC, a Transneft (RTS: TRNF) company.

The pipeline construction project, which incorporates new commercial and environmental safety parameters, is proceeding on schedule, Sergeyev said at a special session of the regional government in Yakutia concerning ESPO held in Yakutsk on Friday. Isolated environmental violations identified by the regional Natural Resources Ministry and Rostekhnadzor are being promptly remedied, he said.

Yakutia President Vyacheslav Shtyrov has ordered strict quality control for the pipe used to cross the Lena, Aldan and Amgu rivers. Preventive measures to protect the pipeline crossing at the Lena River during the winter freeze up and the spring thaw are being drafted. Meters will be installed at all water crossings in Yakutia to measure water's iron and copper concentrations downstream of the pipeline, he said.

Shtyrov noted the need for development of environmental protection measures along the entire pipeline route, for active cooperation with environmental protection groups, and for public information work concerning the pipeline construction.

The Taishet-Talakan segment is the part of ESPO's first phase. Construction of the 2,694-kilometer pipeline - of which 1,458 kilometers pass through Yakutia, began in April 2006.

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