07/19/2006, 00.00
CHINA – RUSSIA
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China's CNPC buys into Russian oil giant

The acquisition of US$ 500 million in stocks shows Beijing's desire to be a major player in Russia's energy market. Siberian-Pacific pipeline is back in the limelight.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) announced that it bought shares worth US$ 500 million in Russia's state-owned giant, OAO Rosneft oil company.

Rosneft has proven oil reserves for 18.942 billion barrels of oil. Its crude oil production reached 74.6 million tons in 2005, and natural gas production 13.1 billion cubic metres. And it is estimated that it will produce 115 million tons of crude oil in 2010 and 127 million tons in 2015

For China's state-owned news agency, this move meants that China "is marching at a fast pace to enter the Russian energy market".

Moscow and Beijing are also considering building a 4,100-kilometre (2,550-mile) Siberian pipeline. Its proposed route would go from the Amur region of Russia's Far East to Daqing in north-eastern China.

Russia's state-run pipeline monopoly Transneft and CNPC are working on a feasibility study for the Chinese branch of the oil pipeline. China is already a top consumer of Russian oil, but all of it is supplied by rail.

Experts note however that for years Russia has been negotiating with both China and Japan. The latter would like to see a pipeline run from Taishet to the port of Nakhodka, which would give Russia a privileged access to the Korean, Indonesian, Australian and western US markets, but Russian authorities have not yet made up their minds.

For China, the issue is one of getting new energy supplies. Last year, the CNPC bought out PetroKazakhstan for US$ 4.2 billion and is holding talks with the president of gas-rich Turkmenistan on the possibility of conducting oil and gas exploration in that country. (PB)

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