Russia has put the most expensive gas pipeline in its history into operation so far. Deliveries to China under the Sila Sibiri (Siberian power) project are designed to take relations between the two countries to a new level, said Vladimir Putin, head of the Kremlin. Via video conference, he launched together with China's party leader Xi Jinping the pipeline that will bring gas from Siberia to the neighboring country.
Xi called the project a milestone in bilateral energy cooperation for mutual benefit. The expansion of relations with Russia has priority in Chinese foreign policy, he said the Russian news agency Tass.
After a long struggle for prices, Russia and China concluded a gas supply contract for 30 years in 2014. He has a total value of 400 billion US dollars. According to the report, 38 billion cubic meters of gas from the regions of Yakutia and Irkutsk are to be transported to China every year. Initially, a section with 2157 kilometers in length is put into operation. The total length should be at the end at 3000 kilometers.
Pipeline five times more expensive than Nord Stream 2
The Russian state-owned Gazprom had estimated the cost of the longest gas pipeline in eastern Russia at $ 55 billion - about five times as much as the controversial Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2. This is expected to cost 9.5 billion euros and be ready by the end of the year.
China could become Russia's second largest gas customer after Germany with the new pipeline. Oil supplies to China had also risen massively in Russia in recent years. The country wants to make its energy policy more independent of business with Europe, because the economic sanctions in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula to the country. However, Europe remains the most important export market for Gazprom - with 201.7 billion cubic meters last year.