* Rosneft says understanding on increased supplies to China
* Energy minister says only new eastern oil will go to Asia
By Vladimir Soldatkin
MOSCOW, Feb 19 Russia's energy minister played
down the prospect of any increase in oil exports to Asia before
new Siberian fields come on stream, as state oil company Rosneft
said it had advanced a plan to increase supplies to
Russian, the world's largest producer of crude oil, will not
boost exports to Asia at the expense of other export flows,
Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying in
a transcript of an interview provided on .
Earlier Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin had completed a
visit to China, resulting in what a company spokeswoman said was
a mutual understanding about increasing oil supplies.
Rosneft helped lead Russia's oil industry into Asia in the
last decade with the launch of the remote Arctic Vankor field,
now pumping over 400,000 barrels a day, and a loans-for-oil deal
with China which helped finance construction of a pipeline.
Vankor is now in the final stage of ramp-up to peak
capacity. In order to supply China and other Asian customers
with new oil, Rosneft must bring on line more eastern fields
which can be linked to the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline.
"Output will stay at about 505 to 510 million tonnes per
year according to our strategy," Novak was quoted as saying in a
transcript of an interview provided by Russia Today English
language television channel.
"And for now one cannot say that we will be redirecting some
additional resources to the far East," Novak said.
"We will look at increasing export flows only when we launch
such projects as Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye field ... Kuyumbinskoye
field ... and so on," Novak added, listing fields in eastern
Siberia due for launch after the middle of the decade.
Last week, industry sources told Reuters that Rosneft could
double oil supplies to China from the current level of 300,000
barrels per day, which would make Beijing the largest consumer
of Russian oil, possibly in return for a loan.
Rosneft denied it was in talks for a loan.
During his visit to China, in recent years the world's
fastest-growing energy consumer, Sechin offered to increase oil
supplies and proposed that Chinese firms take part in an
ambitious project to develop offshore oil and gas, estimated at
100 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, in Russia.
Rosneft also said Sechin would discuss offshore projects
with companies in Japan, his next destination after China on a
tour or Asian centres.
Russia, the world's top crude producer, will need hundreds
of billions of dollars to unlock the potential of the Arctic. It
has been seeking partnerships with overseas companies for
expertise and finance and has already signed deals with Exxon
Mobil, Statoil and Eni.
Rosneft held talks with Japanese companies including
Marubeni in 2011 on a potential partnership to develop
offshore oilfields in the Sea of Okhotsk, but no agreement was
Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged energy companies
to look east, in particular on the gas side, and ordered a
rethink of Russia's gas export strategy to reduce dependence on
weak European markets while developing liquefied natural gas
Only Rosneft and Gazprom, both state-owned, have
exclusive access to Russian undersea mineral resources.
Rosneft may also chip in to feed Japan with frozen gas,
albeit in the more distant future, as it mulls possibly building
its own LNG plant on the Pacific island of Sakhalin, where it
already pumps oil in partnership with the U.S. major ExxonMobil
and Japan's Sodeco.