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The second leg of an oil pipeline being built
The second leg of an oil pipeline being built from East Siberia to the Pacific is to be rerouted north of Khabarovsk bypassing the city's water protection area, a local government spokesman said Tuesday.

The route of the second section of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline was originally planned to run 15-20 km south of Khabarovsk, which would have affected the city's water supply system.

"Local authorities and environmentalists have repeatedly said the pipeline route needed to be rerouted north of Khabarovsk's water protection area, and Transneft, the oil pipeline operator, has met them halfway and agreed a new route with the local government," an official from the regional fuel and energy ministry said.

As a result the project's second leg will be 120 km longer, and the whole project will cost an extra 20 billion rubles ($847.5 million).

Sergei Sergeyev, head of the ESPO-2 project management center, said last month the pipeline's second stage was estimated at 320-330 billion rubles (about $13 billion) at 2006 prices, and would take at least four years.

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 capacity of the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline, being built as part of the project's first leg, is also expected to increase to 588 million barrels from the initial 220.5 million bbl.

The pipeline's first leg, estimated at $11 billion, was expected to be commissioned in December 2008. However, Transneft said on February 7 that the commissioning of the project would be delayed from late 2008 to late 2009.

The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then on to China and the Asia-Pacific region.

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