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Russia's Rosneft, China's CNPC to sign oil supply deal soon

MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-controlled oil producer Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation will sign a contract in the next six weeks on crude deliveries to China, the Russian energy minister said on Thursday.

Sergei Shmatko said the two companies reached the agreement on Thursday at a meeting of the energy sub-commission of the Russia-China intergovernmental commission.

The minister said the contract would be signed for a term of no less than 15 years and the fuel supplies did not concern the construction of a pipeline spur to China as part of the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline.

The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto energy-hungry China and the Asia-Pacific region. A 1,100 km leg of the pipeline was opened in early October in Russia's Far Eastern republic of Yakutia.

Shmatko said the Chinese side had carried out significant work on the design of the ESPO pipeline spur and has started construction on its territory.

At the same time, he said the spur to China would not go into service next year.

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