Tag Archives: East Siberian-Pacific Ocean pipeline

China, Russia Settle East Siberian Oil Pricing Dispute.

Workers inspect PetroChina oil tanks in Daqing, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 10, 2011. Some 390,000 tonnes of crude oil have been delivered to China as of 22 p.m. Monday through an oil pipeline linking Russia's far east and northeast China, since it began operating on Jan. 1, 2011. The pipeline which originate in the Russian town of Skovorodino in the far-eastern Amur region, enters China at Mohe and terminates at Daqing, both in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. The 1,000-km-long pipeline will transport 15 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia to China per year from 2011 until 2030, according to an agreement signed between the two countries. Some 72 kilometers of the pipeline is in Russia while 927 km of it is in China. (Xinhua/Wang Jianwei)

The long-troubled negotiations over China’s purchases of Russian oil have reportedly taken a step forward. Russian press reports say a new deal ensures a below-market price for China’s oil imports from East Siberia. Russia’s largest state-controlled oil company, Rosneft, and the pipeline monopoly, Transneft, are to give China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) a $1.50 a barrel discount on the oil it gets via the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean pipeline relative to the market price of Russian oil shipped to other buyers from the Pacific Ocean port of Kozmino.

China receives the vast majority of its Russian oil via a spur on the pipeline from Skovorodino to Daqing, shown above, that opened in January, 2011. But it is starting to buy Kozmino cargoes as an alternative to Iranian oil. Rosneft reportedly says the deal will cost the Russian side $3 billion a year in revenue. That seems haggling hyperbole, rather than a real number. The arithmetic suggests $3 billion over the life of the contract would be closer to the mark. Whatever the true figure, the Russians may just have to write it off as the cost of ending the dispute. China funded the building of the pipeline with a $25 billion loan but claimed Transneft overcharged for transport costs. These are part of the formula for pricing the oil with which the loan is to be repaid at a rate of 15 million tonnes of crude a year from 2011 to 2030.

The two countries still have outstanding negotiations over natural gas. Price is a point of contention in those discussions, too. However, there has been agreement that Russia will start supplying China with Eastern Siberian gas in 2015.

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Cheap Russian Oil Starts Flowing To Northern China

The first Russian oil has flowed through the Daqing spur of the 2,750 kilometers pipeline connecting East Siberia to the Pacific Ocean (ESPO). The picture above shows the 1,000 kilometers spur at Mohe, where it enters China. Up to now China’s deliveries of Russian oil have come via Russia’s Far Eastern port of Kozmino to which it travels by rail from the Skovorodino terminal of the main ESPO pipeline.

The pipeline has been built by the Russian state companies, Transneft and Rosneft, using a 20 year $25 billion loan repayable in oil on favorable terms. China will be paying one-fifth as much for Daqing-delivered oil as it does for the supplies that come via Kozmino.

Russia sees a growing export market for its energy in China, though progress on oil stands in marked contrast to natural gas, the fuel to which China is switching from coal to generate heat and power. Negotiations over supplies and building the infrastructure to deliver them are stalled over price, and to a lesser extent some geopolitical jockeying in Central Asia. However, there has been agreement that Russia will start to supply China with Eastern Siberian gas in 2015.


Filed under China-Russia, Energy