MOSCOW Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM), the oil arm of
Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM), has asked to
ship 1.08 million tonnes of crude to China throughout the last
three quarters of the year, it told Reuters on Wednesday.
Gazprom Neft asked Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft
(TRNF_p.RTS) to send 360,000 tonnes each in quarters 2, 3 and 4
of this year through its new pipeline to China via Kazakhstan.
Russia began exports through the pipeline in the first
quarter of this year after tough talks between Transneft and
neighboring Kazakhstan on the transit rules continued
throughout all of last year.
BP (BP.L)'s Russian arm TNK-BP TNBPI.RTS and Gazprom Neft
together shipped 300,000 tonnes in the first quarter of this
year through the link.
The start of Russian oil flows via the Kazakh link comes as
Transneft has signaled it could postpone the startup of its own
$12 billion first link to China from the end of 2008 due to
slow construction works.
Russia has said it is keen to conquer the Asian energy
markets with new oil and gas pipelines, but Europe will remain
its top priority for the decades to come.
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, writing by Amie