"All agreements have been reached" for the implementation of the Siberian Force 2 project, Vladimir Putin welcomed Vladimir Putin, under the gold of the Kremlin, after discussions between the Russian and Chinese delegations.

"At commissioning," he said, "50 billion cubic meters of gas" will transit through the 2,600-kilometer-long pipeline that will connect Siberia to China's northwestern Xinjiang via Mongolia's steppes.

The Russian leader, however, did not give details on the timing of the project, which is to complete an already existing gas pipeline, Siberian Force, which starts from the Russian Far East.

This announcement will allow Russia to significantly increase its gas supplies to China, at a time when its economy must turn away from the European market since the sanctions that followed the attack in Ukraine.

The expected quantities of future deliveries represent almost as much as Nord Stream 1 (55 billion cubic meters) before its shutdown following sabotage in September 2022.

The goal "by 2030": to deliver a total of at least 98 billion cubic meters of gas and 100 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to its Chinese ally, the Russian leader promised.

Vladimir Putin assured his counterpart Xi Jinping that Russia was capable of supplying "China's growing demand for energy", while Russian hydrocarbons are sanctioned in the West.

In their final joint declaration, the two presidents stressed their willingness "to pursue an even closer partnership in the energy sector".

Record gas deliveries on Monday

The Russian state giant Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it had beaten its record for daily deliveries via the Force of Siberia gas pipeline, which currently connects gas fields in the Russian Far East to northeastern China.

"Gazprom has (...) set a new all-time record for daily gas supplies to China on Monday," Gazprom said in a statement, without giving specific figures.

A source within the group told AFP that "the daily volumes" delivered to China were "commercial information" and will not be disclosed.

Russian state-owned giant Gazprom has announced that it has broken its record for daily deliveries via the Force of Siberia pipeline, which currently connects gas fields in the Russian Far East to northeastern China © OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP/Archives

Last year, gas deliveries via the Siberian Force to China reached an all-time high of 15.5 billion cubic meters.

By 2025, Moscow intends to multiply by 2.5 its exports through this infrastructure, to 38 billion cubic meters each year.

Well aware of the potential of this pipeline, Vladimir Putin had described it Sunday in an article as "deal of the century".

"Priority" to the economy

Forced to find new promising markets, the Russian president does not hide his desire to make China his main economic partner, at the risk, according to some observers, of becoming a vassal of Beijing.

"Trade and economic cooperation is a priority in relations between Russia and China," Putin said, saying he expects trade in 2023 to "exceed the threshold" of $200 billion, which would be a new record after that of 2022 (185 billion).

He also said he was "ready to create a joint working body for the development of the Northern Sea Route", one of the routes in the frozen waters of the Arctic, now more easily navigable because of melting ice.

Moscow hopes that this route will eventually increase the transport of hydrocarbons to Asia, especially those produced in the Russian Arctic, by connecting the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.

Vladimir Putin also stressed the importance of developing railway infrastructure between Russia and China, as existing ones are saturated according to experts.

He also said he was in favor of "the use of the Chinese yuan in settlements between Russia and countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America," another way to accelerate the de-dollarization of its economy and Russia's pivot to Asia.

© 2023 AFP