LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7 -- The Russian government will hold a meeting next week to discuss postponement of the commissioning date for the ESPO pipeline from East Siberia to the Pacific Ocean.
"I will call a meeting on the ESPO project to discuss this issue," said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin, who is responsible for the project to build the pipeline.
The announcement follows a public disagreement that took place in late January over the pipeline's commissioning date.
No official proposals to postpone dates of the construction of the ESPO line had been submitted to the Industry and Energy Ministry, according to Sergei Mikhailov, director of the ministry's department for state energy policies.
"There has been no talk about any postponement," said Mikhailov on Jan. 31. "Slight adjustments could be made in the construction schedule. No one has cancelled the agreed timeframe."
But on the same day, Andrei Sharonov, a member of the board of directors of state pipeline monopoly Transneft, said the company had established new deadlines for the launch of the first ESPO section, adding that letters had been sent regarding the changes.
Transneft Vice-Pres. Mikhail Barkov has since said the new dates were to be confirmed before mid-February by a commission of industry and energy ministry officials.
In late November 2007, Transneft's board reported a more than 25% backlog in welding and assembly work by contractor firms. That resulted in the pipeline's becoming some 700 km shorter than originally planned.
Due to that shortfall, Transneft reportedly sought to delay the launch of the first section until September 2009.
Contact Eric Watkins at email@example.com.