BEIJING, April 28 (Reuters) - Russia started construction of a crude oil pipeline to China, following an agreement between the two countries to exchange loans for oil early this month, a Chinese newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Russia staged a ceremony on Monday in Skovorodino, where the pipeline started in Russia, according to the China Petroleum Daily, which is run by top Chinese oil firm CNPC.
Construction of the pipeline section in China will begin in May, and the section cutting across the border in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang will be started in September, the paper said.
China agreed this month to lend $10 billion to Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft and another $15 billion to state-run oil major Rosneft in exchange for 300 million tonnes of Russian oil to be transported over the pipeline over 20 years.
About 15 million tonnes of crude every year will be sent to China from Russia upon the completion of the pipeline, which is scheduled for October 2010, and the volume will be increased in the future, the paper added.
The planned pipeline will run about 67 kilometres in Russia and 960 kilometres in China to end at the Daqing oilfield. China currently receives most of its Russian oil supplies via rail.
PetroChina, the listed arm of CNPC, will add nearly 10 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity in Daqing by 2010 to store the Russian oil. (Reporting by Eadie Chen and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Ken Wills)