During a visit to the semiautonomous Siberian district of Sakha (formerly known as Yakutia), Vladimir Putin predicted the final paperwork should be completed by April.
The pipeline will run some 4,200 kilometers from Taishet, in Siberia's Irkutsk region, to Perevoznaya, in the Pacific and should be capable of transporting up to 80 million tons a year for onward shipment to China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Australia.
Putin said construction of the first segment of the pipeline should be completed in 2008.
Caspian Energy Special
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HOW MUCH OIL? The U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated that the Caspian could hold between 17 billion and 33 billion barrels of proven oil. ("Proven reserves" are defined by energy experts to be 90 percent probable.) Other experts estimate the Caspian could hold "possible reserves" of up to 233 billion barrels of oil. ("Possible reserves" are considered to be 50 percent probable.) By comparison, Saudi Arabia has 261 billion barrels of oil and the United States 23 billion...(more)