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CNPC has proposed speeding up talks with Russia on natural
CNPC has proposed speeding up talks with Russia on natural gas supplies, a senior official at China's national oil and gas company said at an East Siberian economic forum on Tuesday.

"We propose speeding up Chinese-Russian commercial talks on natural gas cooperation," CNPC international relations director Zhang Xin told the Baikal forum.

Gazprom and CNPC signed a protocol on Russian natural gas supplies to China in 2006. According to the Russian energy giant, feasibility studies for possible supply routes are currently being conducted, and a decision has been made to start discussing investment. Commercial talks have also started.

Zhang said CNPC had also proposed signing an intergovernmental agreement to boost the construction of a 67-km (41 miles) leg to China of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline.

Under an agreement signed between CNPC and Russia's Transneft, the oil pipeline operator, the construction of the branch will be funded by China.

The Chinese official said China had taken an active part in the construction of the first leg of the ESPO pipeline in Russia, and carried out engineering operations along a 150-km (93 miles) stretch of it.

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 onto China and the Asia-Pacific region.

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


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