China, Rus­sia launch gas pipe­line

Xi, Putin wit­ness open­ing of mas­sive en­ergy pro­ject, hail­ing sig­nif­i­cance of co­op­er­a­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Bei­jing and REN QI in Moscow Con­tact the writ­ers at an­bai­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin wit­nessed via video link on Mon­day the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Chi­naRus­sia east-route nat­u­ral gas pipe­line, a land­mark pro­ject that will trans­port nat­u­ral gas from east­ern Siberia through North­east China to Shang­hai.

The two pres­i­dents, Xi in Bei­jing and Putin in Sochi, Rus­sia, greeted each other, and Xi ex­pressed grat­i­tude to­ward the work­ers build­ing the pipe­line.

Hail­ing it as a flag­ship pro­ject for China-Rus­sia en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion, Xi called the pipe­line a model for China-Rus­sia in­te­grated com­mu­ni­ca­tion and win-win co­op­er­a­tion.

Xi men­tioned that he and Putin wit­nessed the sign­ing of the doc­u­ment on the pipe­line pro­ject in 2014. The con­struc­tion work­ers over­came dif­fi­cul­ties in freez­ing weather in the past five years to com­plete the pro­ject, which shows the fine tech­nolo­gies of work­ers in ma­jor coun­tries and the fruit­ful out­comes of China-Rus­sia co­op­er­a­tion, Xi said.

The pro­ject’s com­ple­tion is not only an out­come but also a new start­ing point for co­op­er­a­tion, Xi said, ad­ding that the two na­tions should work to­gether to build a safe, green, devel­op­ing and friendly pipe­line, make all ef­forts to en­sure its safe con­struc­tion and oper­a­tion and pro­mote the sus­tain­able eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment of re­gions along the route.

Not­ing that this year marks the 70th an­niver­sary of China-Rus­sia di­plo­matic re­la­tions, Xi said the two coun­tries should make fur­ther ef­forts to build more projects like the pipe­line to bring more ben­e­fits to the peo­ple of both sides.

Putin said that the open­ing of the pipe­line has great sig­nif­i­cance at a time when the two coun­tries are cel­e­brat­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of di­plo­matic re­la­tions.

In the next 30 years, Rus­sia will sup­ply 1 tril­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas to China, which will be help­ful in im­ple­ment­ing the two pres­i­dents’ con­sen­sus of ad­vanc­ing Rus­sia-China trade vol­ume to $200 bil­lion in 2024, Putin said.

Rus­sia would like to make joint ef­forts with China to en­sure the smooth im­ple­men­ta­tion of the flag­ship pro­ject, he added.

Un­der a 30-year agree­ment be­tween Rus­sian com­pany Gazprom and China Na­tional Petroleum Corp signed in May 2014, the China-Rus­sia east-route pipe­line pro­ject is ex­pected to pump some 38 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of nat­u­ral gas from Rus­sia to China an­nu­ally.

That is equal to about 13.6 per­cent of China’s gas con­sump­tion in 2018 of 280.3 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

The pipe­line stretches 5,111 kilo­me­ters in China and 3,000 km in Rus­sia. Its Chi­nese sec­tion cov­ers six prov­inces, one autonomous re­gion and two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties from Hei­longjiang prov­ince to Shang­hai.

Yana Leksyutina, a pro­fes­sor at the Rus­sian Academy of Sciences, said China has been the largest trade part­ner for Rus­sia since 2010, and Sino-Rus­sian trade and eco­nomic ties have main­tained good mo­men­tum.

Their co­op­er­a­tion is mainly fo­cused on en­ergy, Leksyutina said, say­ing some Rus­sian en­ergy megapro­jects are be­ing im­ple­mented, or are to be launched with Chi­nese in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing the Ya­mal LNG and Arc­tic LNG 2 liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas projects.

She said the first ever Rus­sianChi­nese gas pipe­line has tremen­dous mean­ing for both coun­tries, as the vol­ume of Rus­sian en­ergy ex­ports to China is ex­pected to grow rapidly. Rus­sia has high hopes for ex­tend­ing co­op­er­a­tion to other fields, such as agri­cul­ture, Arc­tic de­vel­op­ment, cross-bor­der e-com­merce and cur­rency set­tle­ments.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Vladimir Putin wit­ness the open­ing cer­e­mony for the China-Rus­sia east-route nat­u­ral gas pipe­line in a video con­fer­ence on Mon­day.

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