Russian Federation and China Open $55B Natural Gas Pipeline

04 Décembre, 2019, 23:07 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A car drives in front of facilities of Amur gas processing plant under construction part of Gazprom's Power Of Siberia project outside the far eastern town of Svobodny in Amur region Russia

Putin hailed the pipeline, highlighting that this year marks 70 years of Russia-China relations, adding that it "brings us closer to the goal we set with President of China Xi Jinping to increase bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024".

Work has also been completed on the first road bridge between Russian Federation and China, further linking the two neighbours.

"Today is remarkable, a truly historic event not only for the global energy market, but first of all for us and for you, for Russian Federation and China", Putin said during a televised ceremony featuring the two leaders.

Moscow began supplying natural gas to western and central Europe in the 1950s and Europe has always been Russia's major consumer of gas, supplied by Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom, with total annual supplies of around 200 bcm. 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.

Besides China, Russia is also looking at other major consumers in Asia, including India to secure potentially enormous new markets outside Europe.

"China and Russian Federation are at a crucial stage in their national development, and our relations are entering a new phase as well", Xi said at the inauguration of the pipeline. 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 and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

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Russia has been increasing gas sales to China via other routes too, such as from the Russian Far East and via Mongolia or Kazakhstan, but has not firmed up any deals. China is upholding people-centered development, an idea-if internationalized-that maximizes equal and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries.

Friendly Russian-Chinese ties have been gradually developing based on the principles of transparency and mutual respect, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said. He warned that such an approach would only harm those nations. The country is also constructing pipelines that expand its reach far into Europe. "Now the main direction of our gas and oil is Europe". The current agreement, negotiated in 2009, expires at the end of the year.

A second gas pipeline being built from Russian Federation to Turkey, TurkStream, also would bypass Ukraine, supplying Turkey and southern 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. Now, 38 billion cubic meters will be delivered annually to China.

The project also threatens to undercut China's traditional suppliers such as Australia, which has had an increasingly fraught relationship with Beijing in recent years.

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