Russian oil company TNK-BP , half-owned by BP , will invest up to $10 billion (6.4 billion pounds) in Arctic oilfield development and construction of a pipeline to link the fields with the export pipeline, the company said on Wednesday.

Russia, the world's top crude producer, is desperate to tap new hydrocarbon resources at the far-flung reaches of the Arctic and East Siberia as its traditional deposits in the West Siberia hinterland are largely depleted.

TNK-BP said it signed an agreement with Russia's oil pipeline monopoly Transneft to deliver oil into the Zapolyarnoye-Purpe pipeline, which will connect the company's Arctic deposits with the China-bound trunk.

The oil reserves and resources of the company's fields in Yamal region are estimated at approximately 5 billion barrels.

The 600 kilometre-long Zapolyarnoye-Purpe pipeline, due to be constructed in 2015-2016, will be part of an oil transportation system connecting Russia's oil exports from the Arctic region with main Eastern and Western routes.

The pipeline is vital for TNK-BP's development of Suzun and Tagul fields. Another link, Purpe-Samotlor, plugs Rosneft's Vankor oil field, which produces around 300,000 barrels per day, into the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, slated for China.

The oil arm of Russia's gas exporting monopoly Gazprom , Gazprom Neft , together with TNK-BP are developing the Messoyakha oil field, which will also deliver oil into the Arctic pipelines.

TNK-BP plans to start supplies of oil from new fields in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area and northern Krasnoyarsk region in 2016, while its total upstream investments programme stands at around $45 billion for the next 10 years.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Melissa Akin and Will Waterman)