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Report: Russia-China oil pipeline to move millions of tons in 2011

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Russian oil heads east
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State media: The pipeline will move 15 million tons of crude oil a year until 2030
  • Xinhua: It runs from eastern Siberia to Daqing in northeast China
  • Analyst: Russia "can play one side off the other" between the East and West

(CNN) -- A crude oil pipeline between Russia and China is now in operation, with 15 million metric tons of crude expected to move from Russia to China a year until 2030, according to Chinese state media.

Within a day of the pipeline's opening over the weekend, about 42,000 metric tons of crude oil had flowed through, a spokesman for the Chinese operator of the pipeline said, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

A metric ton is equal to about 1.1 tons.

As the new ESPO pipeline -- betwen eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean -- delivers Russian oil to energy-hungry China, it overturns decades of Russian dependence on European markets. Analysts say it's a huge strategic shift.

"Now, Russia's oil infrastructure is pointing east -- and its gas infrastructure will also soon be pointing east, as well as west," said Liam Halligan of Prosperity Capital. "Russia can play one side off the other. Russia can command higher prices. Russia can expand its hydrocarbon exports."

The pipeline starts in the Russian town of Skovorodino, reaches China at Mohe and ends at Daqing in northeast China, according to Xinhua. About 72 kilometers (45 miles) of the pipeline are in Russia, and about 927 kilometers (576 miles) of the pipeline are in China, Xinhua said.

CNN's Matthew Chance in Moscow contributed to this report.

 
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