* Link to carry 500,000 bpd of oil
* Will help speed up development of new fields
MOSCOW, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Russia, the world’s biggest crude producer, has launched an oil pipeline that will facilitate the steady supply of 300,000 barrels per day to energy-hungry China and speed up development of new Arctic crude deposits.
The 430 km (270 mile) Purpe-Samotlor pipeline, part of a future trunk going North, will also help top Russian producer Rosneft develop its largest new field, Vankor, to reach an expected output of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2013.
“Russia’s oil industry secured additional safety (with the pipeline launch),” Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in a statement published by the ministry.
The Purpe-Samotlor link is designed to carry 25 million tonnes of oil a year (500,000 bpd).
The pipeline will shorten the way to the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) trunk, Russia’s first oil pipeline to China. The link will replace a longer and more outdated route currently in place.
Shmatko said the link will help Russia swiftly react to changes in market environment by “supply diversification both to West and East directions”.
The new link, close to TNK-BP’s major Samotlor field, would also allow the company -- half-owned by BP -- to develop the Suzun and Tagul fields, which are due to go on stream in 2016-2017.
Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft (TRNF_p.MM) also plans to build a Zapolyarnoye-Purpe link, which will go further north to the Yamal Peninsula. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by Jane Baird)