Russia to Decide on Oil Pipeline Route from Eastern Siberia and Far East to Asia Pacific by May 1st

The Russian government has instructed ministries and departments to complete the analysis and finally choose the route for the construction of the oil pipeline from Eastern Siberia and the Fart East to the Asia-Pacific region. This information was disclosed by Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov on Thursday following the results of the cabinet's session.

According to him, the main criterion in choosing the route should be its economic efficiency.

The minister said that the following routes were under consideration: Angarsk-Nakhodka, Angarsk-Datsin, Angarsk-Nakhodka with a branch towards China, and Sakhalin-Russian eastern coast.

Yusufov pointed out that each project had its own pros and cons. Some of them are two twice as long or expensive than others, still others involve complex physical obstacles.

As of today, the most developed is the project of the construction of the oil pipeline to China. It already has technical and economic feasibility study. As far as this project is concerned, Russia has signed a number of international high level obligations. But taking into account the strategic position of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region, it would be no good to enter the closed Chinese market.

The minister believes that Angarsk-Nakhodka project gives substantially more export opportunities. If it is chosen, China will also be the main purchaser of Russian oil. Among potential importers are Japan, South Korea, enterprises of North America's Pacific coast.

According to Yusufov, the prospected oil reserves in Eastern Siberia and the Far East account for one billion tons. Scientists forecast that additional geological prospecting may double these reserves.