"Truly Historic": Russia, China Launch 3000-Kilometre Gas Pipeline

Cheryl Sanders
December 4, 2019

In a ceremony in which Russia's Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping were connected by a televised linkup, the two countries claimed the pipeline would boost both economies, Radio Free Europe reported Monday.

Alexei Miller, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom which championed the project, said almost 10,000 people had worked to build the enormous pipeline.

Russia, meanwhile, now produces no more than 30 million tons of natural gas a year, and intends to expand its production five times to up to 140 million tons in the next two decades. 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.

The joint natural gas pipeline project between Moscow and Beijing, which is expected to commence its first deliveries to northeast Asia this December, is now seen as a centrepiece of the energy and economic cooperation between the two states.

Analysts mentioned the three tasks have long-term financial and political advantages for Russian Federation, which has inserted itself between European markets to the west and the quickly rising Chinese language market to the east.

Russian energy major Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) sealed a historic $400 billion contract for gas supplies via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline in 2014, after more than a decade of talks.

The 3,000 km-long pipeline, called the "Power of Siberia" gas pipeline, will begin delivering Russian gas to China Monday.

"Russia is just not exclusively creating new revenue streams, however hedging its bets and bolstering its place strategically", mentioned power analyst Andrew Hill. The route of the gas transmission system is along the operating East Siberia - Pacific Ocean main oil pipeline, making possible to optimize infrastructure and power supply costs.

The new pipeline emerges in Heilongjiang, which borders Russian Federation, and goes onto Jilin and Liaoning, China's top grain hub.

Moscow nevertheless stays a key gasoline supplier to Europe and can also be planning to quickly launch two extra pipelines that may ramp up provides to the continent whereas bypassing Ukraine - TurkStream and Nord Stream 2.

Lin also said the new energy source was vital from an environmental perspective in terms of pollution reduction, as northeastern China depends largely on coal-fired power plants.

However some analysts have mentioned the challenge makes little financial sense, given its monumental prices, and shouldn't have been constructed.

Nord Stream 2 will double the amount of natural gas that Russian Federation sells to Germany and that doesn't go through Ukraine.

"It will never pay for itself", Krutikhin told AFP.

The Energy of Siberia launch got here amid continued wrangling over Nord Stream 2.

They fear it will increase Europe's reliance on Russian energy supplies which Moscow could then use to exert political pressure.

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