The capacities of Russian oil pipelines turned out to be unprepared for a sharp reorientation of the Russian economy to the East. The current volumes of supplies through pipelines cannot meet the needs of Russian companies, which are forced to resort to the old and more expensive method of supply - with the help of rail tank cars. The situation is aggravated by the low capacity of the Eastern test site, the main transport hub for the supply of Russian goods to eastern countries, primarily to China. Kommersant writes about this with reference to the data of the profile agency Argus.
At the moment, the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline is operating in the direction of the eastern ports, which starts in Taishet in the Irkutsk region and goes to Skovorodino in the Amur region. The design capacity of the pipeline is 80 million tons per year. Of these, 30 million goes through the pipeline to China, the branch begins just in Skovorodino. About 11 million tons are sent to local refineries (refineries), and the remaining capacity (about 40 million tons) goes through ESPO-2 to the port in Kozmino, which, in the context of Europe's refusal of Russian oil, has become one of the main transshipment points for further shipment of fuel to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region (APR).
In the face of a shortage of export routes, Russian companies decided to revive the railroad deliveries of oil to the east with the help of tank cars. This method has traditionally been considered more expensive than pipeline shipments, but under current conditions, the only alternative is shipment via the Baltic, with a 40-day delivery by sea. In the context of rising prices for freight ships due to anti-Russian sanctions, deliveries using railway tanks may even become cheaper, the newspaper notes. The trial delivery of oil has already passed: on September 25, the subsidiary of Transneft, the company Transnefteprodukt, sent a trial batch from Gazprom Neft by rail to the port of Kozmino. The volume of the batch amounted to 4.4 thousand tons, it reached its destination on October 3.
The problem with rail transport again rests on the unpreparedness of the rail infrastructure to cope with such a flow of supplies. The Eastern polygon (a complex of railway lines that includes the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian main lines) turned out to be unprepared to accept such volumes. Due to the low capacity of the routes to the east, Russian coal companies are already suffering, which, after the imposition of sanctions, cannot sell their products and are on the verge of bankruptcy. It is impossible to increase the transport capacity of the Eastern test site in the near future. Moreover, the announced mobilization actually puts an end to the project, since up to 60% of the employees involved in the expansion work are subject to conscription.