* Improper to set final date for gas supply pact -
* Says ESPO crude exports to china at 6.25 mln T as of June
* Sino-Russian trade forecast to reach $70 bln in 2011
(Adds details, background)
By Jim Bai and Tom Miles
BEIJING, June 10 China and Russia are still
negotiating a massive natural gas supply pact and it would be
inappropriate to set a date for the companies involved to
conclude the deal, Russia's ambassador to China said.
"The size of the deal is huge ... and there are two
documents -- an agreement between the two governments and a
long-term contract between the companies -- to be agreed on.
It's an arduous task and it cannot be done before a certain
date," Sergey Razov said on Friday. "Many principles have been
agreed, and some important issues have yet to be settled."
"As a seller, Russia wants higher gas prices; as a buyer,
China hopes to get lower prices," Razov told reporters at a
press briefing in Beijing. "We hope the negotiations are
finished as soon as possible."
On May 31, Russia said it would finalise a major gas supply
deal with China in time for a visit in mid-June by Chinese
President Hu Jintao, wrapping up years of talks to open a new
export route to the world's biggest energy market.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said he had
reached a broad agreement at a meeting in Moscow with his
counterpart Wang Qishan to supply China with 68 billion cubic
metres (bcm) per year of gas over 30 years.
State-controlled Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom
has invited China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC)
to continue discussions on the gas supply deal next
week as political pressure to wrap up talks mounts.
Razov also said Russia's East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO)
pipeline had supplied China with 6.25 million tonnes of crude
oil from January 1 to June 1, in line with earlier plans by the
two countries. He did not provide an explanation for the oil
price dispute between Russian companies and CNPC, which Interfax
said has been resolved.
Razov also said that trade between the two countries could
reach $70 billion this year, up from the $59 billion in 2010.
(Editing by Chris Lewis)