Kremlin: Gas flow to China starts at 1.3 trillion cubic feet per year

Kremlin says the Chinese gas deal is just the beginning to a long-term relationship.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Updated May 22, 2014 at 6:26 AM
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MOSCOW, May 21 (UPI) -- Russia will send natural gas to China as early as 2018, with initial volumes of 1.3 trillion cubic feet per year, Russia's energy minister said Wednesday.

Energy Minister Alexander Novak confirmed from Moscow a bilateral deal between Gazprom and China National Petroleum was signed in Beijing in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

First deliveries from a 30-year contract valued at $400 billion would start with the delivery of 1.3 trillion cubic feet through a Russian gas pipeline to China as early as 2018, the minister said.

CNPC Vice President Wang Dongjin added a sales contract for the purchase of liquefied natural gas from a project on the Far North peninsula of Yamal was signed with Russian energy company Novatek.

Wang met in Beijing with Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller to discuss a future gas relationship. Miller said the deal with CNPC is just a start.

Doubts surfaced Tuesday that the deal was held up over pricing concerns. Gazprom's Miller said at the time that "[both] sides are searching for a compromise."

Gazprom has sought entrance into the growing Asian market in an effort to diversify an asset base tied to a European economy still struggling to grow. Ongoing disputes over gas debt in Ukraine, which transports the bulk of Russian gas supplies to Europe, adds another layer of risk to Gazprom's consumer foundation.

Leonid Slutsky, the director of regional affairs in Russia's State Duma, told state news agency RIA Novosti the gas deal was one of many on the table for Putin during his visit.

"Sino-Russian cooperation is one of the centers of gravity of the world economic architecture of the 21st century," he said.

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