Now that a project to boost capacity of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline up to 50 million tons per year (with prospects of further capacity increase up to 80 million tons) has been approved, Russia is gaining chances to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific energy market.
Five more oil pumping stations are going to be added to already existing seven to supply even more Russian oil to Asia. Apart from this, several standby routes will be built via the rivers Angara, Lena and Aldan, as well as through the Ust-Ilimsk water reservoir.
Step-by-step extension of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline will speed up development of the whole regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East. The project will boost infrastructure development of the region’s oil transportation system. An expert Alexander Pasechnik comments.Russia has been successfully expanding its oil exports to the Asia-Pacific region, which is in no way a sensational decision. Expansion in exports had been planned in the original draft project. So, the capacity of 80 million tons per year is what we expect the next stage of the project’s implementation to bring us to.
The first leg of the pipeline was commissioned last December to link Taishet, a town in the Irkutsk region, and Skovorodino in the Amur region. From Skovorodino the oil is delivered further by railway to the Kozmino port in the Primorsk region.There also will be a spur to China, turning the whole system into a global network connecting deposits in Western and Eastern Siberia with the Pacific coast and providing diversification of the Russian energy resources. Until recently, Russia has exported its oil and gas mainly to Europe. But construction of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline paved Russia the way to the APR, now the epicenter of global economic growth.
As China is the leading energy consumer in the APR [Asia-Pacific Region, ndr], its demand for fuel is likely to increase twice in 10 years. India`s rapidly growing economy is causing growing demand for energy as well, while South Korea and Japan are expected to reach the same level by 2015. So, there is no doubt that the Russian oil will be in high demand in the region. Besides, delivering oil from Russia is quicker than from the Middle East, which is an extra point playing into our hands.
Meanwhile, China has asked Russia to supply some oil for testing the newly built Chinese leg of the oil pipeline. Under the 2009 bilateral agreements, China is expected to start receiving 15 million tons of Russian oil per year.
(The Voice of Russia)