Transneft said in a statement that it is holding an open bidding to select a financial institution that would provide a revolving loan facility for a term of five to seven years to finance the construction of the ambitious East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline, managed by the company.
The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East, which will then be sent on to China and the Asia-Pacific region.
The ESPO project was launched in April 2006 and the first leg of the pipeline, 2,700 km (1,677mile) long and estimated at $11 billion, will be commissioned in December 2008. It will link Taishet, in the Eastern Siberian region of Irkutsk, to Skovorodino, in the Amur region, in Russia's Far East.
The initial project plans have been revised as the pipeline's first stage was rerouted for ecological reasons about 400 kilometers (250 miles) away from Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater body, and divided into three segments following a series of discussions and a presidential order.
The second stage will involve the construction of a Skovorodino-Kozmino pipeline, to pump 367.5 million barrels per year, and an increase in the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline's capacity to 588 million barrels.
Andrei Dementyev, deputy industry and energy minister, said in March that Russia will be able to claim 6-6.5% of the Asian crude market once the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline is fully operational.