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China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline goes into operation

Updated: Dec 04,2019 09:27 AM    CGTN

The east-route of China-Russia natural gas pipeline went into operation on Dec 2, setting a new milestone for deepened energy cooperation between the two countries.

A ceremony was held at Heihe station, the first point on the Chinese part of the pipeline to receive Russian gas. President Xi Jinping, his Russia counterpart Vladimir Putin and leaders of Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) joined a video call from five different places including Heihe to witness the historic moment of the mega project.

It marks a new breakthrough in the deepening energy cooperation and strategic partnership between China and Russia. Wang Yilin, chairman of the board of CNPC said at the ceremony that the Chinese energy group will stick to principle of safety and environmental protection to carry out follow-up work and ensure the stable operation of the pipeline.

"We will closely work with our Russian partners to strengthen the connection between resources and the market," said Wang.

In 2014, CNPC and Russia's Gazprom signed a 30-year, $400 billion gas supply deal. The construction kicked off in June 2015, and it will be completed in 2020.

The 3,371-km-long Chinese section of the pipeline, together with the 3,000-km-long Russian part, is expected to pump 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to China each year when it runs at full capacity.

The east-route pipeline is not only supplied to China, but also to consumers in Russia's Far East. For cities along the route, this project can create jobs and bring in more income for the locals, further promoting the economic and social development in Russia.

Construction of the pipeline now enters a new phase with its middle portion set to be completed next October. She Jingfeng, director of Heihe Customs was confident to see China-Russia cooperation broaden with the progress of the Belt and Road initiative.

"Apart from the opening of the gas pipeline, soon we will have a highway bridge and a cable way connecting the two sides, and the officially approved China's Heilongjiang free trade zone. As such projects and policies gradually take effect, it will lead to a higher level of opening-up," said the director.

Energy cooperation continues to advance

Looking back, China-Russia energy cooperation has continued to advance. In 2011 and 2018, the first and second lines of China-Russia crude oil pipelines were successively put into commercial operation, and 30 million tons of crude oil was imported into China each year.

In 2017, the first production line of the Yamal project was put into operation. The project was jointly developed by Russia's Novartek, China's CNPC, France's Total and China Silk Road Fund.

The project connects the world's largest natural gas supplier and the most potential natural gas consumer market. It is the first natural gas pipeline between China and Russia and also the first cross-border gas pipeline in Northeast China.

With a total length of 5,111 kilometers, the Chinese part of the east route pipeline passes through eight provinces and one municipality from Heilongjiang province in the north to Shanghai in the east. And 3,371 kilometers of the pipelines were newly constructed and 1,740 kilometers of the pipelines were in service before.

In July 2018, the first ship of Yamal LNG supplied to China, and CNPC will import three million tons of Yamal LNG each year starting from 2019.

In addition, cooperation on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) between China and Russia is also flourishing.

In August this year, the first two trains carrying 1,150 tons of LPG departed from Russia and entered China via Manzhouli land port, trailblazing land transportation of LPG between the two countries. China may be able to receive an estimated 100,000 tons of Russia-produced LPG by early 2020, Xinhua reported.