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Gas flow through the pipeline is expected to gradually increase to 38 billion cubic meters per year by 2025.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping supervised Monday the inauguration of a historic gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Siberia to northeastern China, which is an economic and political boost to relations between Moscow and Beijing.
Both heads of state stated that this new pipeline is "a historic project of bilateral energy cooperation" and an "example of deep integration and mutually beneficial cooperation."
The 3,000-km 'Power of Siberia' pipeline will transport gas from the Chayandinskoye and Kovytka fields in eastern Siberia, a project that is expected to last three decades and generate US$400 billion for the Russian state coffers.
"This is a truly historic event, not only for the global energy market but especially for us, for Russia and China," said Putin, who watched the launch via video link from Russia's Sochi station on the Black Sea.
"This step takes Russian-Chinese strategic energy cooperation to a new qualitative level and brings us closer to the goal set together with Chinese leader Xi Jinping of bringing bilateral trade to US$200 billion by 2024," he added.
The new pipeline starts in Heilongjiang, which borders Russia, and reaches Jilin and Liaoning, China's main grain distribution center.
Gas flow through the pipeline is expected to gradually increase to 38 billion cubic meters per year by 2025, possibly making China Russia's second-largest gas customer after Germany, which bought 58.5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia last year.
These figures also confirm China as Russia's main export market outside Europe and support two other major Russian energy projects, the Nord Stream 2 undersea Baltic pipeline to Germany and the TurkStream pipeline to Turkey and southern Europe.