An oil pipeline running from resource-rich Russia to energy-hungry India and China is under "active consideration", an industry expert has said.
"The project is very likely to succeed," a senior research fellow with the Chinese think-tank, China Institute of International Studies, Xia Yishan said at the Third Sino-Russo-Kazakh Oil and Gas Forum held on Thursday in Shanghai.
Xia, who is an expert in the National Energy Leading Group of the Chinese government and has been actively involved in big oil and gas projects in the country, said several options are under discussion about the contours of the pipeline.
The idea for such a pipeline was suggested four years ago, China Daily reported.
One plan is for the pipeline to run from Russia to Altay in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, climb the Tianshan Mountain, and extend south to Kunlun Mountain till it reaches India.
"India is the most active party in the project," Xia said.
"China, as the country through which the pipeline will pass, will also benefit" by getting a financial return as a transit country and possibly securing cheaper oil.
However, Vladimir Saenko, head of the State Energy Policy Department of the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Russia, said it was still too early to discuss the contours of the pipeline.
"The talks will be arduous and prolonged," he said. "It may be simpler to ship the oil by sea."