Russia to boost gas supplies to China – Energy Ministry
Moscow and Beijing have signed an agreement on additional natural gas supplies from Russia via the Far East route, it was announced on Thursday.
The Russian Energy Ministry said it had prepared a draft resolution to ratify the deal, which it will shortly submit to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.
Russia currently supplies gas to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline, a section of the so-called East Route, under a bilateral 30-year agreement. Deliveries started in 2019, and the pipeline is expected to reach its full operational capacity of 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually by 2025.
The Far East route envisages supplies of natural gas to China from the shelf off Sakhalin Island. The project involves the construction of a cross-border section across the Ussuri River between the already operational Russian pipeline and the Chinese city of Hulin. After reaching full capacity, the route will allow for the delivery of 10 bcm of Russian pipeline gas to China annually.
The resource base of the Far East route, the Sakhalin-3 gas project, ran into problems last year after Washington imposed sanctions on the Yuzhno-Krinskoye gas field. The measures forced Russian state energy giant Gazprom to begin work on creating domestic subsea gas production complexes (SPCs). There were reports that this may cause delays in the launch of the route. However, Gazprom announced earlier this month that the project is on schedule, and the first gas flows are expected to start later this year.
Meanwhile, Gazprom has also been assessing the possibility of supplying gas to China via the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline through Mongolia. The conduit is expected to allow for the delivery of up to 50 bcm of gas annually, and its construction is scheduled to start in 2024. Once all the pipelines are fully operational, the volume of Russian gas supplies to China could reach nearly 100 bcm per year.
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