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    Russian deputy PM to hold 'energy talks' in China

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    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin is to fly to China on Friday for high-level energy talks with the Chinese government, the Russian government press service said.

    MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin is to fly to China on Friday for high-level energy talks with the Chinese government, the Russian government press service said.

    During the two-day talks, due to start on Saturday, Sechin is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, and the leadership of the Chinese oil, petrochemical and nuclear corporations.

    The meetings are expected to focus on "new arrangements for bilateral cooperation in the energy sector," the spokesman said, without giving further details of the talks.

    The proposal to improve cooperation in the energy sector was first voiced by the Chinese premier during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to China in late May.

    Sechin, who oversees Russia's energy industry, also chairs the board of directors of the Russian oil giant Rosneft. The company, Russia's second-largest oil producer, has supplied oil to China since 2004.

    However, in early July, the company, which is set to supply 48.4 million tons of oil to the China National Petroleum Corporation before 2010, said that it might request changes to the current pricing formula for China over rising global crude prices.

    The Russian Vremya Novostei daily said that during Sechin's visit to China the sides would also discuss the construction of the branch line of the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO), due to be launched in late 2009.

    The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto China and the Asia-Pacific region, allowing oil-rich Russia to make its exports more flexible.

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