ESPO pipeline completion due by end of '08

Transneft expects to complete the first phase of its planned East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline by yearend 2008, having built more than 900 km of the 2,700-km line.

May 3rd, 2007

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 3 -- Russian pipeline operator OAO Transneft expects to complete the first phase of its planned East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline by yearend 2008, having built more than 900 km of the 2,700-km line.

It has revised the date of second-phase completion. "I believe that we should get it done by the end of 2008, bearing in mind that we started carrying out the project with a delay of 4½ months and that the project became 500 km longer," said Transneft Pres. Semyon Vainshtok on national television.

However, revising earlier estimates concerning the completion date for the second phase, which would extend the pipeline by 1,300 km from its originally planned terminus at Skovorodino onward to the Pacific Coast, Vainshtok said he expects construction of the extension to end in 2014-15.

Stressing that the second phase "will definitely be built," Vainshtok said completion would be "in roughly 6-7 years after the launch of the first phase, which has already stimulated productivity in Eastern Siberia."

In February, Russian authorities said Transneft may be able to complete construction of the second phase of the pipeline to coincide with plans of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization for a summit to be held in Vladivostok in 2012 (OGJ Online, Feb. 8, 2007).

Transneft launched construction of the pipeline on Apr. 28, 2006, in the Irkutsk region town of Taishet. In a statement this week, Transneft said construction of the sections between Taishet-Ust-Kut and Tynda-Skovorodino is in the final stages.

Transneft also said it will begin construction this summer of the fifth and final section of a pipeline segment from Talakanskoye field to Aldan in the Sakha republic.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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