Putin, Xi Jinping to launch Power of Siberia pipeline

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

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

Russian Federation on Monday opened a pipeline to transport natural gas from Siberia to northeast China, in a shift of market focus from West to the East and giving a boost to economic and political ties with Beijing.

"The Power of Siberia enables Russian Federation to achieve many goals: to develop a new resource base, build infrastructure conducive to the socio-economic development, implement major investment projects in the field of gas processing, and get the opportunity to make chemical products", Grivach said. The 3,000-kilometer (1,864-mile) route stretching from the Chayanda and Kovykta gas fields within the Irkutsk and Yakutia gas production centers to the city of Blagoveshchensk, near the Chinese border will pump 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually, or 1.3 trillion cubic feet, of natural gas for 30 years. The Chinese section of this pipeline is over 3,371 km long from Heihe in northern China to Shanghai.

Today is remarkable, a truly historic event not only for the global energy market, [but for] Russian Federation and China, Putin said.

"Gas is going to the pipeline system of the Chinese People's Republic", he said.

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The pipeline is part of Russian Federation efforts to develop ties with Asia - in particular top energy importer China - amid longstanding tensions with the West. Gazprom stressed that the pipeline ran through "swampy, mountainous, seismically active, permafrost and rocky areas with extreme environmental conditions".

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.

In a symbol of the strengthening military ties between Moscow and Beijing, Russia and China staged their first joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific in July, scrambling Japanese and South Korea air defenses.

The Power of Siberia pipeline is a "project of symbolic importance for China-Russia cooperation", said Xi, who expressed hope that the pipeline will become a driving force for economic and social development in the regions it traverses. 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. Xi said the project served as a model of cooperation. He also hosted Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday, saying that Beijing and Moscow would stand together against interference from Washington and others. "Now the main direction of our gas and oil is Europe". "The eastern route, the Power of Siberia is a global, strategically significant and mutually beneficial project", said Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller. For example, previously most Russian gas exports went to Europe. 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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