Russia, China close to pipeline deal: Medvedev
Russian President says Moscow and Beijing are close to reaching agreement on building a pipeline from Siberia's oil fields to energy-hungry China.Updated: May 22, 2008, 20:31 IST
Moscow and Beijing are close to reaching agreement on building a pipeline from Siberia's oil fields to energy-hungry China, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
"We currently have a basic agreement on this and today are at the concluding stage in talks between Rosneft an CNPC, Russia's and China's state oil companies," Medvedev said in an interview posted on the Kremlin website.
Medvedev was in Kazakhstan, a major oil producer, and was due to fly to China on Friday on his first foreign tour as president, seen by analysts as emphasising Russia's ties with Asia's biggest energy market.
In the interview, Medvedev said there had been "unprecedented, huge growth" in Russian energy exports to China from supplies worth 0.5 billion dollars in 2001 to around $6.7 billion in 2007.
The Kremlin chief said joint Chinese-Russian projects for increasing oil-refining capacity in Russia were also under discussion, as were plans for building two major gas pipelines routes from Russia to China.
The oil pipeline would be a branch of a bigger 4,200-kilometre (2,600-mile) trunk line between the Siberian city of Taishet and Russia's Pacific coast and wold run to the Chinese oil hub of Daqing.
Russia hesitated on the project for years and has been in discussions with Chinese officials over the financing and capacity of the pipeline. Russian officials earlier said construction of the pipeline would start later in 2008.