Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft began testing the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline on Monday by pumping technological oil to China, the company's spokesman said.
"At 2:00 p.m. Moscow time [11:00 GMT] we started preparations for filling [the pipeline], at 2:40 p.m. we opened the valves to start deliveries of technological oil to China," the source said.
China will receive 650 metric tons of technological oil during the trials. Commercial oil deliveries, to total 15 million metric tons annually in 2011-2030, are to begin on January 1, 2011.
China planned to import 250,000 metric tons of crude oil from Russia this November and 300,000 metric tons in December, Xinhua reported, citing a China Customs official.
The ESPO pipeline is being built in two stages. The first stage was launched into operation in December last year and the second stage is to be completed in 2014.
The pipeline is designed to pump up to 1.6 million barrels (220,000 tons) of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then on to China and the Asia-Pacific region.
MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti)