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    Russia to develop new eastern Siberian oil deposits by 2012

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    MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will start developing new Eastern Siberian oil deposits with an annual oil production capacity of 30 million metric tons, a leading daily reported Tuesday.

    Vremya Novostei wrote that this plan was the result of a trip made by Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref to the Krasnoyarsk territory late last week.

    However, about $7 billion needs to be invested into regional deposits in the next five years before production can commence.

    During his visit, Gref analyzed prospects for developing two large local deposits: the Vankor group (the license for which belongs to Rosneft) and the Yurubcheno-Takhomskaya zone (Yukos). According to Gref, these deposits will mostly pump oil through the new Taishet - Pacific coast pipeline.

    About 20 million metric tons of oil will be delivered to the Chinese market and another ten million metric tons will be taken by rail to the Pacific coast. There are plans to build a second pipeline stage to link Eastern Siberia and ports on the Pacific ports when the pipeline is filled to capacity, and additional Eastern Siberian sources and deposits have been commissioned. The pipeline's annual capacity will then be 80 million metric tons.

    Yukos has suspended operations at the Yurubchenskoye deposit, the best-studied section of the Yurubcheno-Takhomskaya zone, due to a lack of money. A Natural Resources Ministry's commission will analyze how the license agreement is being implemented in the second half of 2005. The Yurubchenskoye deposit will either be put up for auction again or transferred to a provisional operator if the license is revoked. This is what happened to the major Talakanskoye deposit after it was taken away from Yukos.

    A final transport route for the Vankor group, which contains about 200 million metric tons of oil, remains to be chosen. Rosneft President Sergei Bogdanchikov recently said that his company intended to launch production at the deposit in 2008 and to produce eight million metric tons in 2009. Annual output is to reach 14-15 million tons by 2011. This project is to receive $4.5 billion in investment. France's Total, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India, as well as China, were interested in the project.

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