Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 18 January 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
More Gas to China Unlikely to Offset EU Direction
Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has set a new historical record for the daily export of Russian gas to China. Yet its price is lower than that for the EU, with the supply volume being incomparable, too. Moscow is setting eyes on increasing gas flows to China via a new pipeline – yet Turkmenistan and China have just agreed to launch a new link to boost gas supplies.
Russia’s gas supplies to China via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline hit a record 15.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said at a meeting headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. In 2021, Gazprom supplied 10.39 bcm of gas to China via Power of Siberia, up 49 percent. Russian gas flows to China under a deal between Russia’s Gazprom and Chinese energy company CNPC. The capacity of the pipeline will be 22 bcm of gas in 2023, thus 61 million cubic meters in January up from 50 million cubic meters in December. When launched back in December 2019, the pipeline had a daily capacity of 15 million cubic meters. The pipeline is expected to supply China with up to 38 bcm of gas a year once it reaches full capacity in 2025. Opened back in December 2022, a new section links Tai’an in the northern Shandong province to Taixing in the eastern Jiangsu province so that gas could flow to Shanghai. This underwater section of the pipeline across the Yangtze River took 28 months to complete. The northern section from Heihe in the Heilongjiang Province to Changling in the Jilin Province was commissioned in 2019. The middle section from Changling to Yongqing in North China’s Hebei Province became operational in 2020. Last December, Russia said it had launched the supply of gas from the Kovykta field, the largest in east Siberia in an effort to ramp up gas transmission infrastructure towards China. The thirty-year contract to provide 38 bcm of gas each year by 2024 was signed in 2014 by the state-owned gas companies Gazprom and CNPC. Once expanded, the pipeline will span through 8,000 km, of which some 5,000 km in China. Moscow is also seeking to build a second pipeline – the “Power of Siberia 2” – which would double gas exports from Russia to China, to 88 bcm per year, through Mongolia. Building works are set to start in 2024 and will take several years. An additional hurdle is that Russia has no access to Western technology. A recent China-Turkmenistan meeting is bad news for Moscow as the two inked a deal to construct a new gas link. Turkmenistan has unveiled plans to double natural gas exports to China and increase supplies to 65 bcm from 31 bcm each year, making Power of Siberia 2 less likely.
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