China, Russia continue oil supply, loan talks

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Russia's deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, has started talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Qishan in Beijing as part of a third round of energy talks between the two countries.
BEIJING, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, has started talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Qishan in Beijing as part of a third round of energy talks between the two countries.

Russia is seeking two loans worth a total of $25 billion from China for its state-controlled oil firm Rosneft and Transneft pipeline operator. In October, a deal was concluded to build a branch of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline, currently under construction, toward China. The countries have so far failed to agree the terms of the loans.

While China has no plans to cut fuel consumption, demand in the world's most populous country has been affected by the current global financial crisis.

Beijing is also seeking alternative oil supplies amid the crisis. Earlier this month, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, seeking new oil contracts.

"This is our third meeting as part of our energy dialogue in the last seven months, and it must bring results," Sechin said, opening the talks.

The memorandum on the loans, to be repaid by future oil supplies, expires in March.

Later on Tuesday, Sechin is to meet with the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao.

The ESPO project would allow energy-hungry China to secure an annual supply of 15 million metric tons (110 million bbls) of crude for 20 years.

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