Monday, 24 February, 2020

Putin, Xi launch 'historic' Russian gas pipeline to China

Welding at the connection ceremony of the first link of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline on the Namsky tract near the village of Us Khatyn in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin Five Ways in Which Russia and China Will Profit From Soon To-Be-Opened Power of Siberia Pipeline Sputnik Alexey Nikolsky
Deanna Wagner | 03 December, 2019, 18:40

SOCHI, Russia, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday oversaw the launch of a landmark pipeline that will transport natural gas from Siberia to northeast China, an economic and political boost to ties between Moscow and Beijing.

Sun Xingxiang, deputy chief economist of China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co., Ltd. under CNPC, said the operation of the China-Russia east-route gas pipeline can help reduce the annual emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust by 164 million tonnes, 1.82 million tonnes, 460,000 tonnes and 840,000 tonnes, respectively.

As a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation, the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline went into operation Monday, a successful example of China's practice of the concept of "mutual benefit and win-win" in global cooperation. The other two plans reflect Russian partnerships with Germany and Turkey - U.S. allies and fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.

In January, Russia and Turkey will launch the TurkStream while Nord Stream-2 will boost gas output with Germany next year.

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 pipeline, which Putin has called "the world's biggest construction project", crowns years of tough negotiations and work in hard conditions.

"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, according to a Kremlin news release about the launch.

A 30-year, $400 billion deal was signed in 2014 after a decade of tortuous talks.

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Gazprom is to supply China with 38 billion cubic metres (1.3 trillion cubic feet) of gas annually when the pipeline is fully operational in 2025. It was Gazprom's biggest contract.

"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 6o degrees Celsius in Yakutia and below minus 40 C in the Russian Far East's Amur Region.

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

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

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

The bridge, which is to open next year, will connect the city of Blagoveshchensk and the northern Chinese city of Heihe.

The Power of Siberia launch came amid continued wrangling over Nord Stream 2. The two neighbors have been forging closer relations in the past two decades amid a growing alienation for both Europe and the United States, and the Power of Siberia project is equally important for Russian Federation and China.