* Says 50 million tonnes of oil a year to China "achievable"
* China's new leader Xi Jinping to visit Moscow
MOSCOW, March 22 Rosneft's ambitious
goal of increasing oil supplies to China to 50 million tonnes a
year (1 million barrels per day) is achievable, the company's
head Igor Sechin said in a television interview on Friday.
Sechin, the close confidant of Russian President Vladimir
Putin, was speaking before China's new leader Xi Jinping's first
foreign trip as he starts his Moscow visit later on Friday.
Industry sources have told Reuters that Rosneft plans to
sharply increase exports to China by some 34 million tonnes to
around 50 million tonnes by 2018, which would make Beijing
Moscow's largest oil consumer.
"China is Rosneft's strategic market. At present, our
supplies stand at 15 million tonnes, and that's why the level of
50 million tonnes is not out of reach. We have the resource base
and transportation infrastructure. East Siberia-Pacific Ocean
pipeline is working," Sechin told Rossiya-24 TV channel.
Rosneft on Thursday completed the $55 billion deal to
acquire TNK-BP to become the world's largest crude producer. The
state-owned company borrowed up to $40 billion for the purchase,
mostly from Western banks.
It has managed to cover its most immediate needs by lining
up a syndicated loan as well as $10 billion in financing from
traders Vitol and Glencore.
Industry sources told Reuters that Rosneft has been in talks
with China on loans of up to $30 billion, which it may use to
refinance more expensive borrowings.