Landmark gas pipeline to boost China-Russia energy cooperation

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

During the ceremony Miller was shown ordering workers to open a valve allowing gas to pass across the border into China. It has the capacity to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russian Federation annually.

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.

"The Power of Siberia gas pipeline and the new gas production centers in eastern Russian Federation provide additional opportunities for the acceleration of socio-economic development in eastern regions, primarily through gas grid expansion", Gazprom said in a press release. In total, the pipeline measures 3,176 miles, with 2,095 miles of new construction and 1,080 miles of pre-existing pipelines.

With the new pipeline, China expects to increase the use of natural gas in the country by 10% at the end of 2020, and another 15% by 2030, Xinhua said.

The natural gas supply from Russian Federation is expected to change that, starting with the city of Heihe, which has already seen more than 30,000 people switching from coal to natural gas, according to Xinhua. It crosses into Heilongjiang Province near the North Korea border.

Gas began to flow Monday through the first part of a pipeline connecting the gas fields of Siberia to eastern China, in a project which by 2024 will carry some 38 billion cubic meters of the fossil fuel as far as Shanghai each year, according to China's National Energy Administration. The pipeline posed an engineering challenge, traversing swamps, rocky mountains, areas prone to earthquakes and regions of permafrost where the temperature fell to minus-58 degrees last winter.

"This step takes Russo-Chinese strategic cooperation in energy to a qualitative new level and brings us closer to (fulfilling) the task, set together with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, of taking bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024".

"Today is remarkable, a truly historic event not only for the global energy market, but first of all for us and for you, for Russian Federation and China", Putin said during a televised ceremony featuring the two leaders.

Xi told Putin via a video link on Monday that the newly launched gas pipeline is "a landmark project of bilateral energy cooperation" and an "example of deep integration and mutually beneficial cooperation".

The partnership between the two nations came in response to the sanctions levied on Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea. The country is also constructing pipelines that expand its reach far into Europe. Initially, the pipeline was expected to be launched on December 20, but the work was completed faster. Running under the Black Sea, the pipeline consists of two lines - the first intended for Turkish consumers, while the second will send gas to southern and southeastern Europe.



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