Xi, Putin witness launch ceremony of China-Russia gas pipeline

03 Décembre, 2019, 01:56 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Kremlin are hedging their bets by developing new pipelines that serve Europe and China analysts say

Speaking highly of the arduous efforts Chinese and Russian builders and companies have made in frozen and snow-covered land in the past five years, Xi said they have shown to the world their consummate skills and the fruitful results of China-Russia cooperation.

The mammoth Power of Siberia pipeline connecting the world's top gas exporter and its largest energy importer crowns years of tough negotiations and work in hard conditions.

Russian Federation and China on Monday launched a giant gas pipeline linking the countries for the first time, one of three major projects aimed at cementing Moscow's role as the world's top gas exporter.

The launch of the Power of Siberia pipeline was overseen via video link by President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Describing the push to create the pipeline, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Monday that the project required 10 new bridges to be built over large rivers, along with more than 100 crossings over small rivers and marshes.

This is conducive to the realization of a Russia-China trade volume of 200 billion USA dollars in 2024, Putin said.

During the video call, China and Russian Federation representatives at northeast China's Heihe station and Russia's Atamanskaya compressor station and Chayandin gas field reported in turn to the two presidents that they were ready to receive or provide natural gas. It was the Russian gas giant Gazprom's biggest contract.

The flow of gas via the pipeline is expected to gradually rise to 38 billion cubic meters per year, which is equivalent to one-third of Japan's annual gas consumption.

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"The pipeline route passes through swampy, mountainous, seismically active, permafrost and rocky areas with extreme environmental conditions", a statement on Gazprom's website said.

Temperatures along the route plunge to below minus 60 degrees Celsius in Yakutia and below minus 40 C in the Russian Far East's Amur Region.

Ahead of the launch, officials also said work had been completed on the first road bridge between Russian Federation and China.

The Power of Siberia launch came amid continued wrangling over Nord Stream 2.

Moscow however remains a key gas provider to Europe and is also planning to soon launch two more pipelines that will ramp up supplies to the continent while bypassing Ukraine - TurkStream and Nord Stream 2.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to hit Nord Stream 2 and those tied to it with sanctions.

In Russia, the new pipeline is called the Power of Siberia; in China, media reports are a bit less evocative, referring to it as the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline.

The European Commission's push to rewrite the EU's Third Gas Directive is doomed, but Brussels has not withdrawn its proposal because it is preparing a "grand bargain" with Russian Federation, experts told a EURACTIV event on Wednesday (5 September).

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