SHANGHAI, March 4 (UPI) -- In a first, Russian energy company Gazprom said it secured a five-year loan from the London branch of the Bank of China for more than $2 billion.
"For Gazprom this is the largest deal in terms of the amount of financing attracted directly from one financial institution and the first bilateral loan facility agreement with a Chinese bank," the Russian company said in a statement.
Gazprom and Bank of China Ltd. signed the five-year $2.2 billion loan facility agreement in Shanghai.
Russia's economy is hobbled by dual strains of economic sanctions related to crises in Ukraine and the low price of crude oil. The International Monetary Fund said Russia's economy last year was among the hardest hit by the weak crude oil market.
With a European economy looking to break the Russian grip on the region's energy sector, the Kremlin has shifted focus on building successful trade relations with Asia-Pacific economies.
Gazprom has a 30-year sales agreement with China National Petroleum Corp. that calls for 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year through a pipeline dubbed the Power of Siberia.
The company said the pipeline's route is clear, line preparation is under way and surveys have been conducted for underwater sections.
Gazprom estimates the project will require more than 120 thousand tons of large-diameter pipe.