Transneft will probably become the operator of the project on constructing the oil pipeline Western Siberia-Murmansk, Sibneft President Yevgeny Shvidler declared at a press conference devoted to the signing of a memorandum of understanding by YUKOS, LUKoil, Sibneft and Tyumen Oil Company (TNK) concerning the question of constructing the new oil pipeline. He also noted that the number of participants of the project was likely to change, after the technical and economic assessment of the project was worked out. Some foreign companies have already got interested in this project, he added.
At the same time Chairman of the Executive Board of YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky pointed out that the construction of the oil pipeline would be financed by private investors. That is why rules for using the pipeline should differ from rules for using state pipelines, he said.
As it was reported earlier, the construction of the pipeline is planned for 2004-2007. The expected capacity is 80m tons of oil. According to preliminary data, the project's total cost may be from $3.4bn to $4.5bn.
Currently the parties are considering two routes of the pipeline: a 3,600-kilometer route Western Siberia-Ukhta-Murmansk and a 2,500-kilometer route Western Siberia-Usa-Murmansk (via the White Sea).