Putin, Xi launch 'historic' Russia-China gas pipeline

Clay Curtis
December 4, 2019

"More than a trillion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to China through the Power of Siberia pipeline over 20 years".

The Power of Siberia pipeline is a "project of symbolic importance for China-Russia cooperation", said Xi, who expressed hope that the pipeline will become a driving force for economic and social development in the regions it traverses.

The Power of Siberia pipeline provides the world's second largest gas exporter with a potentially huge market outside of Europe, which has always been Russia's major market for gas. After five years of construction work over frozen, snow-covered land, the pipeline-with 5,000 km in China and 3,000 km in Russia-was officially inaugurated on schedule.

The two countries can jointly tap potential markets and "Russian companies could also build gas transmission grids and underground gas storage in China with their unique expertise in the field", Belogorey said.

In a symbol of the strengthening military ties between Moscow and Beijing, Russia and China staged their first joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific in July, scrambling Japanese and South Korea air defenses. The pipeline crosses wetlands, mountainous terrain and seismically active territories, along with areas with permafrost and rocky soils.

On December 2, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a new China-Russia natural gas pipeline, via teleconference.

According to Peskov, the implementation of the project "is important for Russian Federation, important for China".

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"That step brings the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership in the energy sector to a whole new level", Putin said in a statement to the Russian news agency, TASS.

Xi said the project "serves as a model of... mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries". He also hosted Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday, saying that Beijing and Moscow would stand together against interference from Washington and others. Construction of the connecting pipeline in China started in June 2015.

Russian Federation began seeking alternative economic partnerships after the US and European Union imposed sanctions over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.

Nord Stream-2, which would double gas volumes to Germany, is expected to go online in mid2020, though it has faced opposition from the United States and countries in central and eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine. Running under the Black Sea, the pipeline consists of two lines - the first intended for Turkish consumers, while the second will send gas to southern and southeastern Europe.

In the coming year, the gas flow in the Power of Siberia pipeline to China will be limited, amounting to 4.6 billion cubic meters in 2020, according to Gazprom, and rising to 10 billion cubic meters in 2021.

According to this report, in 2018, the country's apparent consumption of natural gas reached 280.3 billion cubic meters, up 17.5 percent year on year.

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