Russia and China on Monday launched a giant gas pipeline linking the countries for the first time, one of three major projects aimed at cementing Moscow’s role as the world’s top gas exporter.
Presiding by video link-up over an elaborate televised ceremony, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping hailed the “Power of Siberia” pipeline as a symbol of cooperation.
The ceremony featured hard-hatted gas workers and videos showing the pipeline’s difficult path from remote areas of eastern Siberia to Blagoveshchensk on the Chinese border.
The 3,000-kilometre pipeline — which Putin has called “the world’s biggest construction project” — will supply China with 38 billion cubic metres of gas annually when fully operational in 2025.
The pipeline is part of Russia efforts to develop ties with Asia — in particular top energy importer China — amid longstanding tensions with the West.