Business / Economy

Energy cooperation 'backbone' of Russia-China economic ties

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-30 11:29

MOSCOW - Energy cooperation has become the pillar of the Russia-China economic partnership, while bilateral interaction is expected to speed up in all economic fields.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich expressed the confidence that bilateral economic cooperation would continue to grow steadily in various fields.

"China is a key foreign political partner of Russia and our main trading partner," Dvorkovich told Xinhua in a written interview on Wednesday.

He noted that bilateral cooperation would be further coordinated during Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli's visit to Russia on May 30-31 for the 13th meeting of the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee and the second forum on China-Russia small- and medium-sized companies.

"At the meeting on energy cooperation, we plan to discuss all the issues that are at the center of our attention, namely the interaction and implementation of projects in the fields of oil, gas, electric energy, nuclear power, coal and some others," Dvorkovich said.

Konstantin Simonov, director general of the Moscow-based National Energy Security Foundation, noted that the issue of gas supply through the western route would be discussed during the meetings, particularly the unsettled problems like the supply price and the route location.

Simonov said that the supply will be pricy if China uses the western gas route to supply gas to its eastern regions.

In May 2014, China and Russia struck a long-awaited 30-year natural gas deal using the eastern "Power of Siberia" route, with an annual gas supply of 38 billion cubic meters from 2018.

Simonov said it is possible that the two countries would discuss the expansion of supply through the eastern gas pipeline.

"There is also an idea of extending to China the pipeline that goes from Sakhalin to Vladivostok (both in Russia's Far East)," Simonov said.

The expert added that China has a "promising and dynamic gas market" as it "has become more careful with coal-based generation" considering mining security and environmental pollution.

Meanwhile, the plummeted gas price and the geographical factors also make Russia a comfortable choice for China, Simonov added.

Besides gas supply, oil trade between the two countries is also developing dynamically in terms of physical volumes, according to Simonov.

Statistics released by China's General Administration of Customs showed Russia was the second largest oil supplier to China last year with a volume of 42.43 million metric tons, up 28 percent compared with 2014, when China overtook Germany as Russia's top crude oil consumer.

"I believe that cooperation in the field of energy is today the backbone of our economic interaction. The role of energy in Russian-Chinese trade is enormous," Simonov said, hailing bilateral energy cooperation as mutually beneficial.

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