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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 16:41 GMT
Russia approves Pacific pipeline
Yukos oil facility in Siberia.
Russia wants to export its Siberian oil to Japan and other countries
The Russian Government has approved the construction of an oil pipeline to the Pacific, enabling oil exports to Japan.

A statement from the government said that state-owned Transneft will be in charge of the project, which aims to transport 1.6 million barrels a day.

The 4,130km pipeline will run from Taishet in East Siberia to Pervoznaya in the Pacific Primorsk region.

It is not clear what the final cost of the project will be but it is estimated to be more than $10bn.

Oil pipeline monopoly Transneft will work with ministers to come up with a schedule for construction by May 2005.

China plan dropped

This new pipeline means that a second project - the construction of a pipeline to China - has been dropped.

Embattled oil company Yukos had lobbied for this pipeline to be built.

Yukos has since been dismantled by the government and its main oil unit Yuganskneftegas sold to state-owned Rosneft.

Rosneft has already taken control of the facilities, Yukos spokesman Alexander Shadrin said.

"Rosneft claim they have fully paid for Yugansk via MDM bank, have shown us some documents and want to hold an extraordinary general meeting today after registering title of ownership," Shadrin has told Reuters news agency.

The China pipeline project may have been dropped but Russian state railways have pledged to supply China with up to 300,000 barrels per day of crude by 2007.

Volumes are to rise to 600,000 bpd by next decade.

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