Putin, Xi launch 'historic' Russian gas pipeline to China

Clay Curtis
December 3, 2019

The two neighbors have been forging closer relations in the past two decades amid a growing alienation for both Europe and the United States, and the Power of Siberia project is equally important for Russian Federation and China.

"This step takes Russo-Chinese strategic cooperation in energy to a qualitative new level and brings us closer to (fulfilling) the task, set together with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, of taking bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024".

The 3,000-kilometre (1,850-mile) pipeline - which Putin has called "the world's biggest construction project" - will supply China with 38 billion cubic metres (1.3 trillion cubic feet) of gas annually when fully operational in 2025.

Russian Federation switched on an enormous gas pipeline to China worth billions of dollars Monday, affirming increasingly close economic and political ties between the two countries.

The pipeline is scheduled to provide China with 5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2020 and the amount is expected to increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024, under a 30-year contract worth 400 billion US dollars signed between the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

The Russian-Chinese natural gas pipeline Power of Siberia will launch on 2 December during a joint teleconference between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the Russian head of state's press secretary confirmed this week.

The cross-border gas pipeline has a 3,000-km section in Russian Federation and a 5,111-km stretch in China.

On Monday, at the gas-distributing and compressing station in Heihe, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, the data screen was switched on, indicating parameter variations of the gas passage. Demand for natural gas has risen in northern China as the government seeks to control smog by moving households away from burning coal for heat in the winter.

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Russian pipeline gas will compete against other pipeline gas supplies to China, including from Turkmenistan, as well as against shipments of sea-borne liquefied natural gas (LNG).

He called on both countries to make the pipeline a safe and green pipeline of development and friendship, ensure the safe operation of the pipeline and boost the sustainable development of the regions along the line.

The pipeline is part of China's plan to boost its natural gas use to 10% by 2020.

Photo taken on November 19, 2019 shows a section of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline in Heihe, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Gazprom built the Russian side of the pipeline, which runs from new Siberian gas fields to the Chinese border.

"This will effectively optimize the country's energy consumption structure, mitigate air pollution along the route and keep our skies blue", Sun said.

"The eastern branch of the Russian-Chinese gas pipeline is a landmark project in bilateral energy cooperation, it serves as a model of deep integration of mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries", he said.

(Video reporters: Qi Hongxin, Ren Jun, Zhang Ruoxuan; Video editor: Yin Le)■.

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