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

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

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

During the ceremony, Miller was shown ordering workers to open a valve allowing gas to pass across the border into China.

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.

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.

"Russia is not only creating new income streams, but hedging its bets and bolstering its position strategically", said energy analyst Andrew Hill.

Flows via the pipeline are expected to gradually rise to 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year in 2025, possibly making China Russia's second-largest gas customer after Germany, which bought 58.50 bcm of gas from Russia last year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday launched the first gas pipeline linking the two countries.

"This is a strategic project of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the energy sector".

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. It was Gazprom's biggest contract.

The presidents of Russian Federation and China will today officially inaugurate the Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline that will eventually deliver 38 billion cubic meters annually to China, with the full capacity to be reached some time in 2025.

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

"The absolute lowest air temperatures along the Power of Siberia route range from minus 62 degrees Celsius [-80 Fahrenheit] in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) to minus 41 degrees Celsius [-41 Fahrenheit] in the Amur Region", it added. "It is extremely important for deepening comprehensive cooperation", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in the beginning of November.

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

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

The €9.5 billion ($10.6-billion) pipeline has faced opposition from countries in eastern and central Europe, the United States and particularly Ukraine because it is likely to increase Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas.

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).