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Russia considering new gas pipeline to China

Regional authorities in Russia's Far East are considering building a new pipeline to pump natural gas to energy-hungry China, a local governor said Wednesday.

The governor of the Khabarovsk Territory, which borders north-east China, held talks on the pipeline with a representative of U.S. oil major ExxonMobil.

Viktor Ishayev said after the meeting with Stephen Terni, president of ExxonMobil subsidiary Exxon Neftegaz Limited, that the proposed Okha-Komsomolsk-on-Amur-Khabarovsk-China pipeline, running from the island of Sakhalin off Russia's pacific coast via the Russian mainland to China would have projected capacity of 8 billion cubic meters per year.

The governor said experts were assessing construction of the pipeline in parallel with the Sakhalin-Komsomolsk-on-Amur-Khabarovsk pipeline, which is slated to reach Khabarovsk in late 2006.

Ishayev said he would sign authorization for Exxon to conduct a ground survey soon, but the final decision on the project would be made by the government.

He said that under existing contracts, Exxon would supply 2 billion cubic meters of gas per year to the region, adding that the maximum capacity of the Sakhalin-Komsomolsk-on-Amur-Khabarovsk pipeline would be 4.5 bln cu m.

The governor said construction of the De-Kastri oil terminal in the Khabarovsk Territory had also been discussed at the meeting with Tern, and that the terminal, from which oil could be shipped to buyers in the Asian Pacific region, is slated to be launched on October 4.

Exxon Neftegaz Limited holds a 30% stake in the Sakhalin I project, the largest foreign direct investment project in Russia.

Sakhalin-1 is an international consortium comprised of Exxon Neftegaz, Russia's Rosneft (20%), India's ONGC (20%), and Japan's SODECO (30%), to develop the Arkutun-Dagi, Odoptu, and Chaivo deposits on the island's northeastern shelf. Their recoverable reserves are estimated at 2.3 billion barrels of oil and 484 billion cu m (17.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas.
© RIA Novosti

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