ESPO Pipeline, Siberia, Russia

The 4,188km-long ESPO (Eastern Siberia Pacific Ocean) oil pipeline exports crude oil from Russia to the Asian Pacific markets of Japan, China and Korea.

The pipeline was built by the Russian company Transneft in two phases. It stretches from Taishet to Kozmino, via Kazachinskoe, Skovorodino and Perevoznaya. The first phase of the pipeline was completed in 2009 and the second phase was completed in December 2012. Transneft also operates the pipeline.

"The ESPO oil pipeline is a 4,188km-long system."

In December 2014, three more oil pumping stations were added to the system, increasing the oil pumping capacity of the stations built under the first phase to 58 million tonnes a year.

A tariff agreement to construct a branch pipe from ESPO to the Komsomolsk Refinery was signed between Tansneft and Rosneft Oil Company in December 2014. It will supply the refinery with eight million tonnes of oil a year.

Oil supplies

The pipeline transports crude oil from fields at Tomsk Oblast and the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in Western Siberia.

The existing Omsk-Irkutsk pipeline also links with the pipeline at Taishet and supplies oil from the provinces of eastern Siberia.

ESPO first phase

The first phase of the pipeline involved the construction of a 2,757km (1,713 mile) section from Taishet in Irkutsk Oblast to Skovorodino in Amur Oblast, along with a branch from Skovorodino to Daqing, China. Construction began in April 2006 and was undertaken by a number of Russian-based companies, including Systema SpecStroy, Krasnodarstroytransgaz, Vostok Stroy, Promstroy, Amerco Int and IP Set Spb.

The first phase features pipes with a 48in (1,220mm) diameter and annual crude oil transfer capacities of 80 million tonnes. There are 32 pumping stations along the route, including 13 with tank farm storage with a total capacity of 2.67 million cubic metres.

This first phase also included the construction of an export terminal in Primorsky Krai and a 35MW power station in Olyokminsk, which uses crude oil as fuel and is vital for powering the pumping stations. The power station uses five crude oil-fired engines supplied by Wärtsilä.

The investment for this phase reached approximately $14bn (Russian estimates of the project cost come to approximately RUR200bn).

In September 2010, CNPC signed an agreement with Transneft for the operation of the branch extending from Skovorodino to Daqing, China. The agreement also includes a gas supply deal with Gazprom and an oil supply deal with Rosneft. The branch is 63.4km long, 720mm wide and has a capacity of 15 million tonnes a year. It was completed in 2010 with deliveries starting in January 2011.

Second phase ESPO II

The second phase of the pipeline involved the construction of a 1,963km (1,210 miles) section from Skovorodino to the Pacific Ocean terminal at Kozmino. A southern route was chosen because of the proximity of the Trans-Siberian railway. The VNIIST Institute designed the terminal, which serves tankers with deadweight ranging from 80,000t to 150,000t.

"The investment for the first phase of the ESPO pipeline was approximately $14bn."

Russian estimates for financing the ESPO II is RUR320bn to RUR330bn. This section of the pipeline was also designed to include a provision for branch lines to the oil refineries in Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The phase also saw the construction of 20 oil pumping stations.

The route of the phase two pipeline runs 882km through the Amur region, 324km through the Jewish autonomous region, 247km through Khabarovsk territory and 570km through Primorye. Capacity of the phase two section is estimated between 30 and 50 million tonnes of crude oil a year.

The construction works under phase two were performed by CJSC Stroytransgaz, Velesstroy, Stroynovatsiya and HMS Group-Hydromashservice.

ESPO II design

The entire pipeline has a single-lane design. The section from Skovorodino pump station to the Khabarovsk pump station (1,182km) features 1,067mm diameter pipes, whereas the section from Khabarovsk to the Kozmino special tanker port (781km) features 1,020mm diameter pipes. Pipes in areas of seismic activity are given a three-layer coating of extruded polyethylene to prevent spillage.