(OilPrice.com) – The Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline to China will start pumping the fuel by late December 2019, Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller said today. Two-thirds of the 2,500-mile pipeline has already been laid, Miller added.
Gazprom has a 30-year contract with China’s CNPC for the supply of an annual 1.3 trillion cu ft of natural gas via the infrastructure. Its completion is among Gazprom’s top priorities for next year, according to plans approved by the company last week. The other top priority is the expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline to Europe – the Nord Stream 2, which has become a major headache for the European Union on concern that it will deepen the its dependence on Russian gas supplies.
Natural gas demand in China is growing at a fast rate and, according to a recent report by Eurasia Daily, the Power of Siberia will be essential in to solve future gas shortages in the north of the country. This winter, northern China is experiencing a shortage of gas due to colder than usual weather and the local authorities have had to enact restrictions on gas consumptions.
Chinese natural gas consumption surged through the first 11 months of 2017, up 19 percent year-on-year, and the pace of demand growth will only intensify. The country is already the third largest consumer of natural gas in the world, behind the U.S. and Russia, and is expected to show the strongest demand growth over the coming decades—propelling it to second place by 2040, as the econom,y shifts away from coal.
Asia’s biggest economy has also become the second-largest importer of LNG, overtaking South Korea. That’s very good news for U.S. LNG exporters, supported by fresh data that Chinese LNG imports from the U.S. skyrocketed to a record 407,325 tons in November. That was up by 57 percent in October.