3 Dec 2010 14:19

ESPO-2 pipeline nears half-way mark

MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) - Transneft has completed welding 1,000 kilometers of the second phase of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline (ESPO-2), Transneft Vice President Mikhail Barkov told Interfax.

"Approximately one hour ago the 1,000th kilometer of ESPO-2 was welded. Another 1,045 kilometers remain," he said.

Welding of the linear section of the pipeline will be completed by the end of 2011. "We are ahead of schedule," Barkov said.

ESPO will be used to transport Russian oil to markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The first phase of the pipeline project, completed in December 2009, saw construction of the oil pipeline from Taishet in Irkutsk region to Skovorodino and construction of an oil terminal at Kozmino. Oil will be shipped from Skovorodino to Kozmino by rail. The pipeline will be extended from Skovorodino to Kozmino in the second phase. Transneft began work to upgrade the first phase pipeline this year to increase its capacity to 50 million tonnes a year. Construction will be completed in 2013. The project provides for capacity to be boosted to as much as 80 million tonnes a year.