Russia launched a new Pacific oil terminal that will allow the world’s largest energy producer to conquer Asian markets and divert some Siberian crude flows away from Europe.

For long, Russia has been seeking to keep its oil exports away from the west, because of the frosty relations with its leading trade partner the European Union (E.U).

“This is the completion of one of the biggest projects in contemporary Russia. This is a strategic project because it allows (us) to come to new markets, the growing Asia Pacific markets.” said The Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin while pressing a computer button to start filling the 100 thousand tones “Moscow university” tanker with crude, which the officials said will sail to Hong Kong despite the stormy winds.

Putin added that the terminal cost Russia’s pipeline monopoly Transneft $2 billion, and has to spend another $10 billion to build a pipeline to Kozmino, which is set to become the third largest seaborne oil outlet after Primorsk on the Baltic Sea and Novorossiisk on the Black Sea.

Russia plans to export 3.1 million metric tons (250,000 barrels per day) of the ESPO Blend via Kozmino in the first quarter of 2010, and the exports expected to rise to 600.000 barrels per day (bpd) in the next few years.
Although the pipeline will only be finished in four years, the terminal’s launch marks another victory for Putin’s energy policies.
In 2009, Putin, the chief lobbyist for Russia’s energy interests, secured permissions for gas pipelines that will run through the Black and Baltic Seas, delivering Russian gas to Europe and bypassing troublesome transit states.