Moscow has postponed a decision to sign a major joint pipeline deal with China, although it said it was still committed to helping satisfy Beijing's energy requirements. On a visit to China, Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said an additional three or four months was needed to improve the technical plan and address environmental concerns.
The 2,247km pipeline would extend from Russia's Angarsk oilfields to Daqing in Heilongjiang at an estimated cost of US$2bn. PetroChina, the listed arm of CNPC, would be the builder and operator of the China section of this pipeline. However, it faces a rival in the form of a US$6bn project that would link Russia with Japanese and South Korean markets. Oil reserves in Siberia are believed to be insufficient to support both projects. Russia and Japan want to reduce their dependence on Middle East oil and both countries have been lobbying hard with the Russian authorities.