Russian Federation opens natural gas pipeline to China

Russia switches on gas mega-pipeline to China as Putin touts closer ties

December 3, 2019 (EIRNS)-The longest gas pipeline in the world, the 8,000-km long Russia-China East-Route pipeline, the Power of Siberia Pipeline, was opened for business yesterday.

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 has the capacity to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russian Federation annually. 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.

The shift of market focus to the East will help Russian Federation, one of the largest exporters of natural gas, skirt the adverse effects of Western financial sanctions imposed over its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

President Xi told Putin, "East-route natural gas pipeline is a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries' interests and win-win cooperation".

The 3,000-kilometer-long pipeline passes through the Irkutsk Region, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Amur Region.

The pipeline will diversify Russia's gas market while providing China with an alternative steady gas supplier, said Alexei Belogorey, deputy executive director on energy studies at Russia's Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation.

"This year the United States and some other Western countries have increased their interference in the internal affairs of China and Russian Federation, threatened the sovereign security of the two countries, and impeded their economic and social development", he said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

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

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The new pipeline extends from Heilongjiang, on the Russian border, to Jilin and Liaoning, China's top grain hub.

"Deliveries of Russian gas to China by pipeline will raise Russian-Chinese strategic energy cooperation to a qualitatively new level and bring the goal of increasing bilateral trade turnover to $200 billion in 2024 closer to being realized", Putin said, speaking in Sochi, southern Russia.

The pipeline serves as a model of.mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries, Xi said.

China will be the main engine for an increase in global gas demand up to 2024, accounting for about 40 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.

Construction began in June 2015, and the pipeline is expected to be completed in 2020.

Russian Federation began seeking alternative economic partnerships after the USA and European Union imposed sanctions over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014.

The company is to supply China with 38bn cubic metres of gas annually when the pipeline is fully operational in 2025.

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