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    Power of Siberia Launches


The politics of the line are more significant than the gas it will carry.

by: William Powell

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Power of Siberia Launches

Russia’s Power of Siberia pipeline to China opened on December 2. The 3,000-km pipeline is expected to pump 38bn m3/yr of gas from eastern Siberian fields to China’s eastern seaboard at full capacity, under a $400bn gas deal signed in 2014. But it will take a few years to reach that amount.

No details regarding the price have been disclosed, but some of the deal's value to Russia lies in its diversification of demand so that it relies less on Europe. It is also a triumph in another respect: it was built within Russia using Russian materials and steel. The pipeline will have to withstand extremes of temperature, winter and summer.

The project’s launch, marked by a teleconference hosted by Russian and Chinese leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, will have sweeping implications for the energy markets of both countries. State-owned CNPC’s latest 2050 outlook report predicts that demand will soar from 283bn m3 last year to 610bn m3 in 2035 and 690bn m3 by 2050. China’s import needs will expand from 119.3bn m3 in 2018 to 310bn m3 in 2035 and 340bn m3 in 2050.

Without Power of Siberia and other new pipeline projects, this extra demand would have to be covered with LNG shipments, which already account for over half of imports.