Russia's pipeline decision important debottleneck step

Russia's decision to favor an oil pipeline from East Siberia to Nakhodka, near Vladivostok, will have market effects more important than the diplomatic upsets likely to receive most attention in the news.On the last day of 2004, Russian officials strongly hinted at support for the pipeline able to serve Japan, other Asian countries, and the US West Coast rather than an alternative dedicated to China.Because Japan and China both lobbied strenuously for the multibillion-dollar projects targeting their respective markets, the Russian decision, said to be preliminary, will be seen as a rebuke to China.Inevitably, diplomatic analysis will put too much emphasis on who takes first delivery o...

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