Russia 090421 Basic Political Developments

Russia, China finalise oil pipeline deal

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Russia, China finalise oil pipeline deal

BEIJING (AFP) – China and Russia signed a multi-billion dollar deal Tuesday, bringing into play a series of agreements on constructing an oil pipeline and supplying fuel to Chinese markets, state media reported.

The oil cooperation pact was signed by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, according to China National Radio's website.

"(Following this pact) a series of agreements between companies on pipeline construction, crude oil trade, loans and other projects will become immediately effective," the radio station quoted Wang as saying.

"This signifies a huge breakthrough in realising energy cooperation between the two nations."

The Chinese report gave few financial details.

But according to Russian news reports, the sides agreed to a 23-year deal to pump Russian oil to the energy hungry Chinese market, in return for 25 billion dollars in loans from China to Russian oil firms to finance a pipeline.

Russia will supply China with 15 million tonnes of crude during the period of the deal, Interfax news agency said.

Russian oil major Transneft had said in February at an earlier stage of the negotiations that it had agreed to a 20-year deal to pump Russian oil to China.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the deal had been apparently extended by three years.

The construction of the oil pipeline from Russia's far east to refineries in China's northeast will start at the end of April and will be completed by the end of 2010, it said.

The pipeline is a spur of the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean pipeline that is currently under construction and will transport Russian crude from Siberia to a terminal on its eastern coast.

"We hope to complete in a short time the basic infrastructure and provide the Chinese side with stable oil supplies," China Radio International quoted Sechin as saying at Tuesday's signing ceremony.

Russia, China sign oil deal, start new pipeline branch

BEIJING, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China signed an intergovernmental agreement on oil cooperation in Beijing on Tuesday, under which a new branch from the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline will be built toward China.

The agreement sets out terms for oil cooperation between the countries, in particular on the laying of a pipeline from the Skovorodino refinery in Russia's Far East to Mohe County in China's Heilongjiang province. Under the deal, the pipeline must be completed by the end of next year.

After signing the deal, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who chairs the state oil company Rosneft, said the agreement "creates a new foundation for developing our energy cooperation."

"This is a unique agreement of a long-term nature, which is accompanied by financial agreements, and to implement it we have already begun building a branch from the main pipeline toward China," he said.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who signed the deal on behalf of China, said the deal brings into force "a packet of agreements and contracts on building the pipeline, buying and selling crude, and providing of credit between the companies of our two countries, which represents a significant breakthrough in bilateral energy relations."

The Skovorodino-Mohe pipeline will pass under the Amur River, and will have throughput capacity of 15 million metric tons of oil per year. The pipeline is part of Russian efforts to diversify export routes from Western and East Siberia.

The deal was signed after the fourth round of Russian Chinese energy dialogue meetings.

Under the intergovernmental deal, China agreed to provide $25 billion in loans to Rosneft and pipeline operator Transneft.

ESPO branch to China could be finished ahead of schedule – Sechin
BEIJING, April 21 (Interfax) - The construction of a branch from

the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean oil pipeline to China could be finished

earlier than late 2010 - the deadline, documented in an

intergovernmental agreement, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said.

The intergovernmental agreement, signed on Tuesday, says that the

construction of the branch must begin in late April 2009 and end in late


"This work is to be finished in 2010. I think, the efficiency

typical of our cooperation with China, will makes itself felt here and

the pace of construction will be faster," Sechin said.

Transneft (RTS: TRNF), the operator of the construction of the

Russian stretch of the pipeline, has started building the branch

already, he said. The physical construction of the pipeline is underway.

The work is continuing to build a pumping facility near Skovorodino. A

reservoir park and workers' towns are being built," Sechin said.

Concurrently, Russia is busy finishing the construction of the

first phase of the ESPO pipeline. Transneft "has yet to weld up a 6

kilometer-long stretch," he said.

Russia sentences captain of sunken Chinese ship New Star

VLADIVOSTOK, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - A court in Russia's Far Eastern port city of Nakhodka found the Indonesian captain of a Chinese freighter that sank in February guilty of border violation on Monday, an aide to the local prosecutor said.

The New Star, owned by a Hong Kong-based company, sank during a storm on February 13 in the Sea of Japan 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Nakhodka, due to damage sustained from gunshots fired by Russian border guards after it illegally crossed the Russian maritime border.

"The court sentenced the captain of the New Star, Indonesian citizen Nazvir Adi, to three months in prison," Irina Nomokonova said.

The border guards fired warning shots at the Sierra Leone-flagged vessel on the night of February 13, but when the vessel refused to stop, direct shots were fired. Video footage shown on local websites shows that Russian border guards fired a total of 515 shots at the vessel's bow. When this had no effect, they requested permission to open fire on the stern.

The ship issued a distress signal when it started to take on water, and 16 crew members, all Indonesian and Chinese nationals, got into two lifeboats. Half of them were picked up by a Russian vessel, but an attempt to save the other eight sailors failed when they were washed out to sea.

The Chinese ship owners have accused Russia of breaching international maritime laws. The owners said in a letter that Russia's actions were not only "a terrible violation of international law, but also a cruel violation of human rights."

The owners also demanded that Russia provide compensation for the incident and requested that a joint Russian-Chinese government group be set up to investigate the sinking of the New Star.

Russia jails captain over sinking of Chinese ship

(22 mins ago)

Russia has convicted an Indonesian captain and jailed him for three months over a shipping incident that left eight sailors dead, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

''The court sentenced the captain of the foreign vessel New Star, Indonesian citizen Adi Nazvira, to three months in prison,'' a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Russia's far eastern Primorye region, Irina Nomokonova, said.

Nazvira was convicted of unlawfully crossing the Russian border by a court in Nakhodka, a Russian port on the Pacific where the incident involving the Sierra Leone-flagged, China-owned New Star took place in February.

The ship, with 10 Chinese and six Indonesians on board, was fired on by Russian border guards after it left Nakhodka.

Eight of the sailors drowned when the captain ordered the evacuation of the vessel and their rescue boat sunk amid bad weather, although the exact circumstances of the incident are disputed.

Russia says New Star, pictured in a photograph taken by Russian border guards before the sinking, had been sequestered in Nakhodka for smuggling and that after the New Star fled the port, border guards had warned it repeatedly before opening fire.

The incident sparked a strong diplomatic protest from China.


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