MOSCOW, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft announced the first oil deliveries for the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline would start during the weekend.
Alexander Dyukov said the new phase of oil deliveries for markets in the Pacific Rim was a boost for his company and for regional energy security.
"We consider the new direction of deliveries to be rather perspective for the company and to open up an entrance to the Pacific Rim markets with a stable customer demand," he said.
He added deliveries through ESPO were more efficient than deliveries through conventional European routes.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin inaugurated the ESPO oil pipeline during a ceremony at the Kozmino oil terminal Dec. 28, calling the "strategic project" a victory for Moscow.
The first leg of ESPO is designed to carry 220.5 million barrels of oil per year along a route starting in East Siberia and then some 1,713 miles east.
A second leg is envisioned to carry 367.5 million barrels of oil per year along a 1,300-mile route to the Pacific Ocean.
Dyukov said the first cargo of oil would be delivered to Japan's Mitsubishi through ESPO starting Jan. 30.