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Russia has no plans to drop construction of the East Siberia-Pacific
Russia has no plans to drop construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, a deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

The ambitious East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto China and the Asia-Pacific region. The project's first leg, estimated at $11 billion, is expected to be commissioned in December 2008.

However, unofficial reports said the commissioning could be delayed for six months.

"Speaking about our plans, I can definitely say that we intend to continue the construction of the oil pipeline eastwards. Serious progress in the construction has already been made," Alexander Losyukov said.

In the first stage, a 2,757-kilometer (1,713-mile) section will be built with a capacity of 30 million tons (220.5 million bbl) of oil per year. The project's first leg will link Taishet, in East Siberia's Irkutsk Region, to Skovorodino, in the Amur Region, in Russia's Far East.

The second leg will stretch for 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles) from Skovorodino to the Pacific. It will pump 367.5 million barrels of oil annually. The second stage also envisages an increase in the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline's capacity to 588 million barrels.

Meanwhile, Stroytransgaz, a leading Russian company for the oil and gas sector, said on Thursday it had been awarded a contract to build another section of the pipeline 87 km (54 miles) long to run from Mogot to Tynda.


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