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Land use

Amur Oil&Gas Basin

Related maps, pictures, links

The Amur-Heilong River basin is not extremely rich in oil and gas. But given its frontier position between Russia and East Asia, it will be soon crisscrossed with pipelines and dotted with refineries and oil terminals. (See map Russian oil & gas exports)

China is interested in greater international cooperation in developing energy supplies, particularly oil and natural gas, and Russia is the most promising partner. Japan, China, and North and South Korea also largely depend on imported fuels: oil, natural gas, and coal. Current exports of fossil fuels to these countries from and through the Amur-Heilong River basin are small but rapidly growing. China doubled its oil consumption between 1995 and 2005 when world demand grew by a relatively modest 20 percent. China 's current foreign purchases account for more than half its consumption. More than a one fifth of these imports are from Russia and Mongolia .

The highly publicized East Siberia-Pacific Ocean Oil Pipeline (ESPO) is estimated to cost $15-16 billion and will eventually run from Taishet in central Siberia to a port on the Pacific coast near the Russia-China border. The first stage of the project is to construct a 2,400-km oil pipeline from Taishet in Eastern Siberia to Skovorodino near the Chinese border. China looks to import as much as 30 million tons/year of crude oil when the Skovordino-Daqing spur is built, while supplies along the second-stage Skovorodino-Pacific route would come to 50 million tons/year, with exports mostly to Japan . China National Petroleum offered to pay $400 million to Transneft, the Russian state-owned oil pipeline company, for design work on a planned spur of ESPO to Daqing, and Russian officials announced that the pipeline to China would be finished by 2008. The “Statement on Intended Investment” for a such a pipeline crossing Amur at Dzhalinda village has been announced in Amurskaya Province in September 2006.

Several gas pipeline proposals have recently been proposed for transport of gas from Irkutskaya Province, Yakutia, and Sakhalin Island to consumers in northeast Asia. In March 2006 Russia agreed to expedite construction of two natural gas pipelines to China with a combined annual capacity of 68 billion cubic m.

Until the pipeline to Daqing is complete, Russia will supply by rail 385,000 bbl/day to China and 192,000 bbl/day to Japan starting in 2008. Most of the oil delivered to date has passed through Zabaikalsk/Manzhouli and supplied China 's northeastern refineries.

Chinese companies have for years been willing to cooperate with Russian companies in prospecting, exploiting and developing oil, promising up to $12 billion for the most promising projects. However, the early bids by Chinese companies to explore oil and gas fields in Russia were not successful. By 2006 the situation changed and now the Russian company Rosneft is also engaged in talks with Chinese companies to open a network of gasoline stations in China in exchange for selling a 5-10 percent stake in Rosneft to the Chinese. Rosneft's capitalization is estimated at about $60 billion, which would value the possible Chinese share at $3-6 billion. The two companies plan joint exploration and production in Russia, transport to China, and processing and sales in China and other northeast Asia countries.

When existing oilfields at Daqing, which supply up to 40 percent of China 's domestic oil, are included, along with growing production in Jilin , Inner Mongolia, and Dornod, Mongolia, the entire Amur-Heilong River basin is involved in extraction, transportation and processing of hydrocarbons. Indeed, the basin already faces problems associated with oil-fields and refineries. These include pollution, disruption of water regimes, and degradation of wetlands in the Song-Nen Plain. There are also tremendous risks associated with oil transport infrastructure of pipelines, railways and ports.





Land degradation

Oil & gas and mining

Transportation infrastructure


GIS: Political geography, railroads and pipelines.


Oil pump. Sanhecha. Song-Nen Plain. Heilongjiang. (Photo by E.Simonov)

Also look:

Land-use trends:

General trends in land-use

Recent changes in land-use in three countries



Amur Agriculture

Agricultural development in Northeast China

Agricultural development in Eastern Mongolia

Russian agriculture

Russian agricultural land and production in RFE-tables

Northeast Asia cooperation in agriculture

Environmental impacts of argiculture

Land degradation and desertification

Conversion of wildlands to farmland



Timber harvest in the Russian Far East

Salmon vs forestry

Major human-induced impacts on forest ecosystems of RFE (table)

Timber trade


Other land-use issues:


Nature tourism in the Amur/Heilong River Basin

Transport infrastructure impacts

Oil & gas impacts

Russian mining

Mongolian mining

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