Russian Federation launches gas pipeline to China


Russian Federation on Monday started piping gas to China, as the long-awaited Power of Siberia pipeline connecting the two countries came online.

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.

"Gas is going to the pipeline system of the Chinese People's Republic", he said.

"This step takes Russia-China energy cooperation to a whole new level and brings us closer to achieving the goal set together with Chinese President Xi Jinping of extending bilateral trade turnover to $200 billion in 2024", Putin said. The other two plans reflect Russian partnerships with Germany and Turkey - U.S. allies and fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members. EURACTIV went to the source to explore the economic, political, legal and societal dimensions of Russia's controversial pipeline project.

The 3,000km pipeline - which Putin has called "the world's biggest construction project" - will supply China with 38 billion cubic metres of gas annually when it is fully operational in 2025.

He said the three projects were a sign that the Russian gas industry - "this kingpin of the global gas sector" - was becoming more mature.

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. It was Gazprom's biggest contract.

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 USA dollars signed between the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

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Gazprom stressed that the pipeline ran through "swampy, mountainous, seismically active, permafrost and rocky areas with extreme environmental conditions".

Russia has been in talks with China about raising gas sales via other routes too, such as from the Russian Far East and via Mongolia or Kazakhstan, but has not yet clinched any deals.

In turn, Xi said the pipeline launch marks a new stage in bilateral ties between the two countries.

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

The pipeline is part of Russia's efforts to develop ties with Asia - in particular top energy importer China - amid longstanding tensions with the West.

Here is a list of facts to know about Power of Siberia prior to its historic launch on 2 December.

"It will never pay for itself", Krutikhin told AFP. Here, workers are seen during construction of the Chinese section of the China-Russia East Route natural gas pipeline in Heihe, China.

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).