RPT-UPDATE 3-Russia prepares to open oil pipeline to China

Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:46pm GMT

(Repeats to more subscribers)

* Russia gets new Asian route for its oil exports

* Seeks closer China relationship to offset Europe dependence

* Also plans to export 30 bcm gas per year to China from 2015

* Russia hopes to sign "commercial contracts" on gas mid-2011 (Adds quotes, details)

By Denis Dyomkin

BEIJING, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Russia and China took a step toward a closer energy relationship on Monday as they prepared to open a pipeline that will bring Siberian crude oil to China, but failed to finalise pricing for a similar pipeline for gas.

Russia is rich in energy resources but burdened with pipelines that lead west -- despite European fears of Russian dominance, Russian officials have often complained the country is a hostage to Europe's willingness to keep buying.

A branch of the new East Siberian-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline is set to start bringing 300,000 barrels per day across the border on Jan. 1, 2011, giving Russia a new oil export route.   Continued...

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