The first oil pipeline linking the world’s biggest oil producer, Russia, and the world’s biggest consumer of energy, China, has begun operating.
The pipeline, running between Siberia and the northeastern Chinese city of Daqing, will allow a rapid increase in oil exports between the two countries. Until now, Russian oil has been transported to China by rail.
Concentrated in western Siberia, Russia’s network of pipelines for oil exports has so far run towards Europe.
Russia is expected to export 15 million tons of oil through the new pipeline each year – about 300,000 barrels a day.
Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer in 2009. China surpassed the US as the world’s largest consumer of energy last year.
The BBC reports the project cost US$25 billion and was partly financed by Chinese loans.