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Sino-Russian energy links to expand
By Qin Jize and Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-04 05:49

China and Russia yesterday reaffirmed that the construction of a cross-border crude oil pipeline will go ahead as per an earlier agreement and vowed to enhance energy co-operation.

The commitment was made during discussions between Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov at the 10th Sino-Russian Prime Ministers' Meeting in Beijing.

Premier Wen Jiabao (right) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov at the 10th Sino-Russian Prime Ministers' Meeting in Beijing. [Xinhua]

Fradkov said that Chinese and Russian companies are conducting a feasibility study on the oil pipeline linking Angarsk, in Russia's Siberia, and Daqing in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

A deal on the construction of the pipeline, which will pump oil from Siberia and the Russian Far East to China, was signed in 2001.

The two leaders yesterday signed a joint statement of their 10th annual meeting and witnessed the signing of eight agreements in various fields such as banking.

The two neighbours have shown a strong interest in energy co-operation as it has become an integral part of economic and trade exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region.

Before the pipeline is completed, Russia will export oil to China by train, which Fradkov said will reach more than 8 million tons this year. The figure is expected to double next year.

The two countries have reached agreements on expanding co-operation to petroleum and natural gas, including providing China with crude and refined oil at reciprocal prices, building a natural gas pipeline network in China, establishing a power grid in China, and jointly developing gas and oil in both countries.

The two sides will start a feasibility study on piping gas to China from Russia.

Niu Li, a senior economist with the State Information Centre, said the Sino-Russia partnership in the energy sector is on a fast track.

"With governments participating, political risks for energy firms will be greatly reduced," Niu told China Daily yesterday.

The huge market potential in China, the world's second-largest energy consumer after the United States, is another driver for Russia to strengthen ties with China on the oil and gas front, he said.

But he added there are some obstacles in energy collaboration between the two nations.
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