Russia and China sign major energy deal
Russia’s Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a second long-term contract on Friday for the supply of 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from the Russian Far East. The agreement comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin is in China on an official visit.
According to Gazprom, the agreement is “an important step in further strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and China in the gas sector.” After the project reaches its full capacity, the volume of Russian pipeline gas supplies to China via the Far East route will reach 48 billion cubic meters per year (including deliveries via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline).
Gazprom’s largest natural gas deposit in the Far East is the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field, where production is due to begin in 2023.
“The signing of the second contract for the supply of Russian gas to China testifies to the highest level of mutual trust and partnership between our countries and companies. Our Chinese partners from CNPC confirm that Gazprom is a reliable gas supplier,” the head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, said.
Russian energy supplies to China have reached record highs, according to Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov.
Gazprom and the CNPC signed their first 30-year contract on gas supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline in 2014. The 3,000km (1,864 mile) cross-border pipeline, the first natural gas pipeline between Russia and China, started deliveries three years ago.
In 2015, the sides agreed on gas supplies via the western route, or the Power of Siberia 2, which will deliver gas from Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula, where Russia’s biggest gas reserves are. The new pipeline will be able to transfer up to 50 bcm more gas through Mongolia to China annually.
In January, Gazprom completed an analysis of the project to build the Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline through Mongolia to China, which will make it possible to supply up to 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year to China.
Analysts say Moscow’s ‘gas pivot’ to China poses a challenge for Europe, which has been struggling with skyrocketing energy prices in recent months. Russia remains Europe’s main gas supplier, but the changes it is currently making to its energy transport infrastructure should be taken seriously, analysts note.
Europe’s 541 bcm of annual gas consumption is more than China’s 331 bcm, but the latter is expected to rise to 526 bcm by 2030 as Beijing reduces its dependence on coal. Consulting firm McKinsey estimates that China’s demand for gas will double by 2035. Its annual gas consumption is expected to reach 620 bcm by 2040 and overtake oil as the leading fuel source by 2050, according to data made public in September by Chinese energy giant Sinopec.
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