Russia and China today launched a giant gas pipeline connecting the two countries as part of a major $ 400 billion deal to cement Moscow as the world's largest gas exporter.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping spoke during an extended television ceremony during an extended television ceremony as a symbol of cooperation.
& # 39; Today is remarkable, a truly historic event, not just for the global energy market, but primarily for us and for you, for Russia and China, & # 39; Putin said.
Russia and China today launched a giant gas pipeline connecting the two countries as part of a major $ 400 billion deal to cement Moscow as the world's largest gas exporter
Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (photo) greeted the & # 39; Power of Siberia & # 39; pipeline as a symbol of cooperation
Jinping said the project served as a collaborative model.
& # 39; Relations between China and Russia are entering a new era, & # 39; Jinping said. & # 39; Everyone has worked hard. & # 39;
The ceremony consisted of hard-working gas workers and videos showing the difficult path of the pipeline from remote areas in Eastern Siberia to Blagoveshchensk on the Chinese border.
Employees burst into applause and party music played when the CEO of Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, speaking from the Amur region, ordered the opening of a valve so that gas could flow across the border.
The 3000-kilometer pipeline – that Putin & # 39; & # 39; has named the world's largest construction project & # 39; – China will deliver 1.3 million cubic feet (38 billion cubic meters) of gas annually when it is fully operational in 2025.
Russia and China signed the $ 400 billion 30-year construction agreement in 2014 – the largest Gazprom contract ever.
The pipeline is part of Russia's efforts to develop ties with Asia – in particular China's largest energy importer – amidst prolonged tensions with the West.
Gazprom emphasized that the pipeline ran through swampy, mountainous, seismically active, permafrost and rocky areas with extreme environmental conditions.
Temperatures along the route fall below -60 ° C in Yakutia and below -40 ° C in the Amur region of the Russian Far East.
During an extensive TV ceremony, Jinping said during an extensive TV ceremony: & China's relations with Russia are entering a new era. Everyone has worked hard & # 39;
Work on the first traffic bridge between Russia and China has been completed, with the two neighbors further connected.
The bridge, which will be opened next year, connects the city of Blagoveshchensk and the North Chinese city of Heihe.
However, Moscow remains an important gas supplier for Europe and is also planning to launch two more pipelines in the near future that will accelerate landings to the continent and bypass Ukraine – TurkStream and Nord Stream 2.
Analysts said the three projects have long-term economic and political benefits for Russia, which has entered between European markets in the west and the fast-growing Chinese market in the east.
& # 39; Russia is not only creating new revenue streams, but is also covering its bets and strategically strengthening its position, & said energy analyst Andrew Hill.
However, Moscow remains an important gas supplier for Europe and is also planning to launch two more pipelines in the near future that will accelerate landings to the continent and circumvent Ukraine
& # 39; The ability to play one against the other will not be lost on either Gazprom or the Kremlin, & # 39 ;, wrote Hill, who heads the S&P Global Platts EMEA gas and power analysis team, in a blog.
But some analysts have said that the project makes little economic sense, given the huge costs, and should not have been built.
& # 39; This is not a commercial project, & # 39; said Mikhail Krutikhin, who estimated the cost of the pipeline at around $ 100 billion, nearly double the $ 55 billion price tag announced by Gazprom.
& # 39; It will never pay for itself & # 39 ;, Krutikhin told AFP.
The launch of the Power of Siberia was in the midst of the constant argument about Nord Stream 2.
Nord Stream-2, which would double gas volumes to Germany, is expected to go online in mid-2020, although it has been confronted with opposition from the United States and countries in Central and Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine.
Critics fear that it will increase Europe's dependence on Russian energy supplies, with which Moscow can subsequently exert political pressure.
TurkStream, which Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan hope to launch in January, will transport Russian gas to Turkey, also bypassing Ukraine.
The pipeline runs under the Black Sea and consists of two lines – the first is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second will send gas to South and Southeast Europe.
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