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21 Apr, 2021 15:27

Life beyond Nord Stream 2? As demand for natural gas skyrockets in booming China, Russia says it's ready to meet Beijing's needs

Life beyond Nord Stream 2? As demand for natural gas skyrockets in booming China, Russia says it's ready to meet Beijing's needs

China's fast-growing economy has an insatiable need for natural gas, and Russia is ready to heavily ramp up its cross-border supplies. That's according to Viktor Zubkov, the chairman of Russian energy giant Gazprom.

As things stand, gas is sent from Far-Eastern Yakutia to China through the Gazprom-operated Power of Siberia pipeline, which first became operational in December 2019. Its construction secured another economic partnership for Moscow, while its gas connections to Europe face increasing resistance.

On Wednesday, when speaking to Moscow news agency TASS, Zubkov revealed that China's demand for gas increases every two years at the rate of the entire capacity of the Power of Siberia pipeline, which transports 38 billion cubic meters every year.

According to Zubkov, China has already become the largest importer and the third-biggest consumer of natural gas globally.

"It will remain the most promising gas market for the foreseeable future as well," he said. "We are sure that China needs additional gas supplies from Russia, and Gazprom is ready to supply them."

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He also noted that Chinese gas consumption is growing at an accelerated, 'double-digit' rate and in the next 15 years could double from its current level.

In recent years, Russia and China started to move closer economically, with both countries sending a large volume of exports across their shared border. Beijing is now Moscow's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade exceeding $100 billion annually.

"Asia acts as a locomotive in the development of the global economy," Zubkov concluded. "In 2020, the world economy faced its worst pandemic crisis in recent memory, and it was Asia, with its strong growth, that laid the foundation for a global recovery from the downturn."

On April 13, Gazprom approved the analysis of a project to build the Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline through Mongolia to China, another route that would send more fuel to Asia.

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