“This is an important project because we are beginning to diversify the delivery of our energy resources,” Putin said at today’s opening of the pipeline in Skovorodino in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur region, in comments posted on his official website. “Thus far, shipments were made to our European partners.”
Putin said Russia is currently pumping 120 million to 130 million tons of oil to Europe and only “a small amount to Asia Pacific,” according to comments on his site.
“The China-Pacific pipeline is the most important energy project in Russia since the opening of the gas pipeline to Europe,” said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib Financial Corp., in e-mailed comments today. “It means that Russia’s strategic importance to China has increased considerably.”
Construction of the 64-kilometer (40-mile) pipeline on the Russian side was launched by OAO Transneft, the oil pipeline monopoly, in April 2009, according to Vesti-24 television. From the border, the pipeline will run a further 960 kilometers to the Chinese town of Daqing, located in the country’s northeast. China will begin testing after completion of its section of the pipeline in late September, Vesti added.
Igor Sechin, Putin’s deputy for energy, said Russia would also open 500 gas stations across China, Vesti added.