First leg of Russia's ESPO line nears completion

Builders have fewer than 250 km of pipe yet to lay on the first leg of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, according to Alexei Sapsai, director general of the project's management center.

Feb 25th, 2009

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 25 -- Builders have fewer than 250 km of pipe yet to lay on the first leg of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline, according to Alexei Sapsai, director general of the project's management center.

The full 4,700 km ESPO line will extend from Taishet to Kozmino, passing through Kazachinskoe, Skovorodino, and Perevoznaya. The 2700-km first leg will extend from Taishet to Skovorodino, and the 2000-km second leg will link Skovorodino to Kozmino.

Commissioning of the first leg is scheduled for Dec. 25. According to OAO Transneft Vice-Pres. Anatoly Bezverkhov, "There is no doubt that the work planned for 2009 will be performed in full."

Sapsai said all of the land along the pipeline's first leg has been deforested, cleared, and prepared and that 2,450 km of pipe have been laid. He said a stretch of 1,776 km has been hydro-tested, and a 1,094-km pipeline section has been filled with oil.

According to Sapsai, workers have nearly completed the construction and commissioning of the head oil pumping station in Taishet as well as intermediate stations in Rechushka in the Irkutsk region and near Aldan in Yakutia.

Construction of the Talakan field station is nearing completion, while work on a variety of other projects is under way, including the assembly of technological equipment for pipelines and utility networks and the building of tank farms near Kirensk and Skovorodino.

According to the ESPO management center, construction in the neighboring Yakutia Republic has been proceeding as scheduled, while construction of the pipeline across the River Lena is expected to be completed in April.

Seven oil pumping stations will be built along the 2,700-km Phase 1Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline. In addition to the station in Taishet, two other stations will have tank farms.

On the Pacific Coast, more that 25% of the work has been completed on facilities at the Kozmino oil export terminal, including the petroleum tank farm, tank car loading racks, and other onshore and offshore facilities.

The first leg of the pipeline began operating on Oct. 24, 2008, and comprehensive test runs have nearly been completed. Oil supplies for reverse transportation from Yakutia and the Irkutsk region to Taishet began Oct. 4, 2008.

The first 100,000 tonnes of oil were supplied from Talakan and Verkhnechonsk oil fields last October, and another 220,000 tonnes will be supplied this year, including 180,000 tonnes from Talakan and about 40,000 tonnes from Verkhnechonsk.

Second leg progress
Construction on the 2,000-km second leg of the ESPO line—which will run through the Amur region, the Jewish Autonomous Region, Khabarovsk, and Primorsky territories—may begin in the second half of this year.

The second leg is expected to be built within 14.5-17.5 months, but the final timeline has yet to be approved.

The first leg is designed to transport 30 million tonnes/year of oil, while the second leg will increase the overall capacity to 80 million tonnes/year.

The first leg will be supplied from the oil fields of Tomsk region and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area in Western Siberia along the existing Omsk-Irkutsk pipeline that will join the new project at Taishet, as well as oil provinces of Eastern Siberia.

After the pipeline has been extended to Kozmino on the Pacific Coast, oil will be supplied from Western Siberia and from oil fields in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Irkutsk region, and Yakutia.

The cost to construct the line's first leg is 95 billion rubles ($2.7 billion), while the addition of the second leg will bring the total cost to an estimated 390 billion rubles ($10.9 billion).

Earlier this month, Russia and China agreed to terms of a $25 billion loan to enable the construction of a pipeline spur 67 km from Skovorodino to the Chinese border where a further 960-km line will continue to Daqing (OGJ Online, Feb. 17, 2009).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

More in Pipelines & Transportation