Russia plans updates to ESPO oil pipeline

Aug. 1, 2013 at 10:22 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Russian oil pipeline company Transneft said it plans to upgrade a pipeline to the Pacific Ocean to carry more oil as of 2018, an executive said.

The company said it plans to increase the yearly capacity through the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline by 80 percent. The pipeline's annual capacity will increase to 491 million barrels of oil as of 2018, Viktor Bronnikov, head of Transneft subsidiary Vostoknefteprovo, said.

"As part of the ESPO expansion, we'll build seven oil pumping stations, of which three are being constructed in Yakutia [northeast Russia]," he was quoted Wednesday as saying by Russian news agency RIA Novosti. "From 2015, construction of four stations will be launched in the Irkutsk Region [East Siberia].

The first branch of the ESPO pipeline entered service in January 2010. Construction on the second leg began two weeks after operations on the first leg started.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the "strategic project" as a victory for Moscow as it looked to capitalize on Asian economic success.

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