CHINA TO DEVELOP TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE TO ACCOMODATE LARGER OIL SUPPLIES FROM RUSSIA

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BEIJING, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - China will develop its transportation infrastructure to accommodate growing oil supplies from Russia, Gennady Fadeyev, President of RZhD, Russia's rail monopoly, has told a press conference in the Chinese capital of Beijing. He appeared before reporters after talks with top officials of China's Railways Ministry.

"China is looking forward to our oil supplies, and is willing to invest heavily in the development of its transportation infrastructure in the Manchuria-Zabaikalsk cross-border area," Mr Fadeyev said.

According to the RZhD President, the Chinese side also intends to increase the capacity of pumping facilities and to build new overpasses for freight trains.

According to Mr Fadeyev, the Chinese side reiterated its need for 10 million tons of Russian crude and refined products in 2005 and for another 16 million in 2006 while the Russian side pledged to bring up its oil supplies to China to at least 30 million tons by the year 2007.

Russian railways should be prepared to carry 30 million tons of oil across the border with China, 25 million via Zabaikalsk-Manchuria and the remaining 5 million, via Naushki, Mr Fadeyev said. The supplies should not be confined to crude oil and refined products, he pointed out. The two sides will need to provide adequate transportation facilities to be able to meet their 2010 bilateral trade target of $60 billion, a triple of the current turnover.

Today's talks between top railway officials of Russia and China culminated in the signing of a protocol and a framework agreement on cooperation between RZhD and the Chinese Railways Ministry, as well as an agreement on tank shipments.

As part of work to implement this latter agreement, the sides will be exploring the possibility of setting up a joint venture, a source on the Russian delegation revealed.

Summing up the Beijing meeting, Fadeyev said that "the sides are pleased with the results of their talks and consider the tasks they have set themselves to be realistic."

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