Russia to drastically raise oil exports to Asia-Pacific - president

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President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that Russian oil supplies to the Asia-Pacific region would account for at least 30% of overall exports in 10 years' time.
SOCHI, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that Russian oil supplies to the Asia-Pacific region would account for at least 30% of overall exports in 10 years' time.

Meeting with the parliamentary speakers of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in the Black Sea resort, Putin said: "We expect to raise Russia's share in oil supplies to the Asia-Pacific region from the current 3% to at least 30% in 10 years' time."

The president echoed the forecasts earlier made by the Industry and Energy Ministry.

Industry and Energy Minister Andrei Dementyev said in early September that Russia planned to increase the number of Asia-Pacific countries to whom it exports oil and natural gas tenfold and fivefold, respectively, in 2020.

"The share of Asia-Pacific countries receiving Russian oil exports is forecast to increase from the current 3% to 30% in 2020 (up to 100 mln metric tons), and natural gas export from 5% to at least 25% (up to 65 bln cu m)," Dementyev said.

He said the figures could be reached if eastern energy projects were implemented and energy production developed on Sakhalin off the country's Pacific Coast.

He also said a program for the development of natural gas resources in East Siberia and the Far East would be submitted to the Russian government in 2006. A single system of gas production, transportation and supplies will be created in the region, with account for exports to the markets of China, the world's second largest energy consumer, and other Asia-Pacific countries.

Dementyev said the annual natural gas production forecast in the eastern regions was 150 billion cubic meters by 2030.

The construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline was another important project to increase supplies to the region.

Construction on the ESPO, preliminarily estimated at $11.5 billion, began in April 2006. Since then, more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) have been laid and 330 kilometers (205 miles) have been prepared for pipe installation.

The pipeline is expected to pump 80 mln metric tons of oil per year, including 30 mln tons to energy-hungry China via an offshoot whose construction is about to start.

This year, oil supplies to the Asian giant has reached 8.347 million metric tons (up 41.9% against the previous year), according to Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref.

This year, Russia wants to increase oil supplies to China from the earlier planned 10 to 15 million metric tons. China's crude demand is expected to rise by 5%-7% a year, during a visit to the Asian against last November.

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