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China, Russia launch massive joint gas pipeline

04 December 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping via launch the Power of Siberia pipeline via a TV link-up on Monday.

On one side of the border, Russian gas workers, clad in gray and blue, stood at attention in the Atamanskaya gas compressor station near Blagoveshchensk, close to the Chinese border, waiting for Putin's order to start the flow.

The pipeline that stretches over 5,000 miles, according to the NPR, will see China importing up to 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2020.

The Power of Siberia pipeline provides the world's second largest gas exporter with a potentially huge market outside of Europe, which has always been Russia's major market for gas. The Nord Steam 2, an undersea pipeline, will deliver Russia's natural gas as far as Germany, while the TurkStream pipeline will run to Turkey and into Southern Europe. The country's gas exports all head to the U.S., McNiven said, because while China is an appealing market that it would like to target, Canada does not even have an LNG export terminal that would allow it to become a global exporter.

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They spoke on phone Monday afternoon after witnessing the launch ceremony of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline, Chinese state media reported. The amount is expected to increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024, under a 30-year contract worth 400 billion USA dollars signed between the China National Petroleum Corp and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

The pipeline comes after years of tough negotiations and work in hard conditions, considering that the Power of Siberia pipeline runs through frigid, swampy, mountainous, and seismically active regions of Russian Federation.

Xi said the new pipeline would raise two-way trade to $200 billion by 2024, while Putin said Russia's trade with China has reached a record $100 billion, up from $87 billion a year ago, according to RFE.

The pipeline serves as a model of.mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries, Xi said. The two tunnels, each 1,139 meters long, connect Heihe in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and Blagoveshchensk in Russian Federation.

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The partnership between the two nations came in response to the sanctions levied on Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea.

China is the world's largest energy consumer and demand for natural gas is increasing in the country, especially in the northern part, as it gradually moves from burning coal to cleaner energy for central household heating in winter.

The pipeline's capacity could further increase beyond 2024, PetroChina Vice President Ling Xiao said in June. Initially, the pipeline was expected to be launched on December 20, but the work was completed faster. The total price of the contract on annual supplies of 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China amounted to $400 bln.

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China, Russia launch massive joint gas pipeline