HARBIN - China's first private oil pipeline to import oil from Russia is expected to be completed and start operation next year, sources said.
A 30-kilometre -cross-river pipeline will link railway lines between Heihe, a port city in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and Siberia's Blagoveshchensk in Russia.
The two cities are the nearest in terms of distance along the borders of the two countries, just separated by the Heilongjiang River or the Amur River in Russia.
"With the geological advantages, the pipeline we are building would be a speedy and convenient shortcut to transport oil from Russia," said Tao Ran, general manager of the Heihe-based Xinghe Industries Development Co Ltd, the pipeline's Chinese operator.
With an estimated total investment of 520 million yuan (US$64 million), Xinghe Industries will invest 342.33 million yuan (US$43 million), and the Moscow-based Russian Lanta Oil Company will undertake the remaining 170 million yuan (US$21 million).
Construction will include a railway unloading field and oil transfer station in Blagoveshchensk as the inlet for the oil, four pipelines crossing beneath the Heilongjiang River, and another railway loading field and oil transfer station in Heihe as the outlet for the oil.
The land reclamation for the railway facilities of the oil pipeline on the Chinese side was already completed, according to Tao.
The whole project is expected to be done in September next year, with an initial annual transporting capacity of 3 million tons of oil. It may reach its full capacity of 5 million tons by the year 2008.
Amidst the lingering Sino-Russian oil pipeline issues, the construction of this pipeline may be a good way to relieve the oil transportation bottlenecks between the two countries, experts say.
At present, China mainly relies on railways, linking the land port of Manzhouli in Northeast China and the port of Erenhot in Inner Mongolia, to import crude oil from Russia. 1 2