MOSCOW (AP) _ An international consortium said Wednesday it had completed an oil pipeline connecting petroleum fields in western Kazakstan to a Russian port on the Black Sea, a terminal for export to world markets.

The 948-mile pipeline will deliver its first oil to the Russian port of Novorossiisk in mid-2001, after pumping and signaling equipment is installed, said a spokeswoman for the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, Natalia Prutkovskaya.

The $2.5 billion pipeline is expected to ship 600,000 barrels a day when it begins operation, increasing Kazakstan's capacity to export abundant crude oil.

Fifty percent of the consortium is controlled by the governments of Russia, Kazakstan and Oman, and the rest is controlled by international oil companies.