Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency, has said that Russia’s plan to build a pipeline to supply oil to China or Japan may fail because it has not found enough reserves to justify the investment. He was quoted in the Moscow Times as saying: “I am not sure enough attention has been paid to exploration of far eastern Siberia. There is no absolute certainty that there are enough reserves.” China and Japan are sponsoring rival pipeline routes. China National Petrol-eum is backing a $2.8 billion link to China’s northeast city of Daqing, while Japan has offered to fund the $5.8 billion cost of building a pipeline to the port of Nakhodka. The Russian government is thought to favour the Nakhodka route, because it involves Russia’s oil pipeline monopoly Transneft. The pipeline would help Japan reduce its imports of oil from the Middle East by up to 20%.