In a move to cement energy cooperation with the fast-growing economies in Asia, Russia officially launched delivery of natural gas supplies to China, via the Power of Siberia pipeline, on Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping gave the green light at an official ceremony via teleconference.
Russia, the world’s biggest gas exporter, is looking to one of the globe’s top consumers, China, as Moscow’s relations with the West deteriorate. The move gives Russia an enormous new market outside of Europe which has targeted Moscow with sanctions, over the conflict in Ukraine, since 2014.
The mega pipeline was built in record time. Initially, the launch was planned for December 20 but the construction was completed ahead of schedule.
The 3,000km-long (1864 miles) pipeline will ship gas from Russia’s huge gas reserves in its eastern regions to the Chinese border. It will then link up with China’s own network to deliver gas as far as the eastern seaboard and help satisfy the nation’s vast and growing energy needs.
“The tap is open, gas is being supplied to the gas transportation system” of China, CEO of Gazprom Alexey Miller told President Putin via a videolink from the compression station near the Chinese border.