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Russia, China finalise oil pipeline deal

China and Russia signed a multi-billion dollar deal Tuesday, bringing into play a series of agreements on constructing an oil pipeline and supplying fuel to Chinese markets, state media reported.

The oil cooperation pact was signed by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, according to China National Radio's website.

"(Following this pact) a series of agreements between companies on pipeline construction, crude oil trade, loans and other projects will become immediately effective," the radio station quoted Wang as saying.

"This signifies a huge breakthrough in realising energy cooperation between the two nations."

The Chinese report gave few financial details.

But according to Russian news reports, the sides agreed to a 23-year deal to pump Russian oil to the energy hungry Chinese market, in return for 25 billion dollars in loans from China to Russian oil firms to finance a pipeline.

Russia will supply China with 15 million tonnes of crude during the period of the deal, Interfax news agency said.

Russian oil major Transneft had said in February at an earlier stage of the negotiations that it had agreed to a 20-year deal to pump Russian oil to China.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the deal had been apparently extended by three years.

The construction of the oil pipeline from Russia's far east to refineries in China's northeast will start at the end of April and will be completed by the end of 2010, it said.

The pipeline is a spur of the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean pipeline that is currently under construction and will transport Russian crude from Siberia to a terminal on its eastern coast.

"We hope to complete in a short time the basic infrastructure and provide the Chinese side with stable oil supplies," China Radio International quoted Sechin as saying at Tuesday's signing ceremony.

Copyright 2009 AFP Asian Edition
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Publication:AFP Asian Edition
Date:Apr 21, 2009
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