Russian-China gas deal near, boosting relations: Putin - People's Daily Online
(Shanghai Daily)07:55, October 12, 2011
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (right) shakes hands with Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. The two countries signed nine agreements covering areas such as agriculture, tourism and the economy. In one pact, Russian state bank VEB and the China Development Bank signed a deal for the Chinese bank to invest US$1.5 billion in building the first stage of UC RUSAL's 750,000-ton Taishet aluminium smelter.(Shanghai Daily Photo)
Russia said yesterday it was nearing the final stage of a huge gas export deal with China, in what would be a landmark trade agreement between the giant neighbors.
A deal to supply the world's second-biggest economy with up to 68 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year over 30 years has long been delayed over pricing disagreements.
"We are nearing the final stage of work on gas supplies," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told reporters in Beijing after talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
He also said that Russia and China are working on new energy transportation routes.
"Russia began to supply oil to China through the Skovorodino-Daqing oil pipeline on January 1 this year," Putin said.
The nearly 1,000-kilometer China-Russia crude oil pipeline originates in the town of Skovorodino in east Russia's Amur region and ends at Daqing in northeast China. The pipeline should supply 15 million metric tons of oil annually.
Putin is hoping his two-day visit - his first trip abroad since revealing last month that he plans to reclaim Russia's presidency - will broaden trade with China, which he expects to grow to US$200 billion in 2020 from US$59.3 billion last year.
"Our goal is to diversify our economic ties," Putin told reporters. "I think that everyone will agree that compared with the known difficulties in the global economy, this aspect of the Russian-Chinese relationship (growing trade) has a stabilizing impact."
An agreement on Russia's gas deliveries to China would boost Moscow's efforts to reduce its export dependency on the European market. But Moscow and Beijing have haggled for five years over the commercial settings for the deal.
Russia aims to supply China with 68 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas - compared with up to 155 bcm it will supply Europe this year - starting in 2015, but differences over pricing have been a major stumbling block after an outline agreement was announced back 2006.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said there had been "significant" progress in the gas talks with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan yesterday.
"We have agreed that within the next two weeks we will outline a road map which will include a demand analysis, sources of supplies, the place of Gazprom in the structure of supplies," he told reporters, referring to the Russian company set to supply the gas.
Before his talks with Wen in the Great Hall of People, Putin said: "Our talks are taking place in a business-like atmosphere, with the mutual desire to find compromise on difficult questions which inevitably arise given the sheer volume of our relationship."
"Those who sell always want to sell at a higher price, while those who buy want to buy at a lower price. We need to reach a compromise which will satisfy both sides," Putin added in remarks made at the start of his talks with Wen that reporters were allowed to see.
The two leaders witnessed a signing ceremony for nine agreements covering areas such as agriculture, tourism and the economy.
Russian state bank VEB and the China Development Bank signed a deal for the Chinese bank to invest US$1.5 billion in building the first stage of UC RUSAL's 750,000-ton Taishet aluminium smelter.
As well, the China Investment Corp agreed to invest US$1 billion in a joint Russia-China Investment Fund set up in partnership with a Russian state-backed vehicle to promote direct investment.
Putin said Russia will strengthen nuclear energy cooperation with China after the two nations' success with the Tianwan nuclear plant in east China's Jiangsu Province.
"Russia will introduce the most advanced technology in the world and minimize any possible risks," Putin said.
Today Putin will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao.