Russia turned on a $55 billion 3,000km-long gas pipeline to China dubbed “the Power of Siberia” on Monday, which will supply 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually by 2024.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping observed the launching ceremony via a four-way video call, as both leaders monitored their country's gas stations as the pipeline was put into operation.
President Xi told Putin, "East-route natural gas pipeline is a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries' interests and win-win cooperation.”
The east-route pipeline is part of a 30-year contract between Russia's Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation that was signed in 2014—a deal estimated to be worth $400 billion over the course of its operation.
The pipeline will deliver natural gas from the Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia and the Kovyktinskoye field in the Irkutsk Region, passing through the Urkutsk Regino, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Amur region. Its first stop in China is the northeastern city of Heihe in the Heilongjiang Province bordering Russia.
The fully-completed pipeline will connect a 3,000km-long segment in Russia with a 5,111km stretch in China, terminating in Shanghai.
Putin hailed the pipeline, highlighting that this year marks 70 years of Russia-China relations, adding that it “brings us closer to the goal we set with President of China Xi Jinping to increase bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024.”
Putin called the 2014 supply contract “the largest agreement in the history of the domestic gas industry”.
Jinping hailed the workers who constructed the pipeline, saying, “While working in subzero temperatures and severe climatic conditions and overcoming enormous difficulties, our workers, engineers and oil workers completed the construction project with a high level of quality and showed the entire world the high level of skills and positive results of our cooperation. Launching the gas pipeline is an important interim accomplishment and the beginning of a new phase in our interaction.”