Second ESPO pipeline to start Dec. 25

Dec. 20, 2012 at 7:58 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Russian oil company Transneft announced it would start the second branch of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline Tuesday.

The first branch of the ESPO pipeline entered service in January 2010. The pipeline is meant to carry 600,000 barrels oil per day to Asian markets. Construction on the second leg began two weeks after operations on the first leg started.

The second leg of the pipeline will tie the first branch to the Pacific port of Kozmino, reports Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti. Full operations are expected by Tuesday.

"The second leg will pump 30 million tons of oil annually with eventual expansion of capacity to 50 million tons," the report read.

The first leg is designed for 30 million tons. Last year, Vladimir Putin, then the country's prime minister, described the "strategic project" as a victory for Moscow as it looks to Asian markets.

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