BO'AO, China (AP) — Russia's Gazprom is increasing gas supplies to China and expects soon to reach the maximum planned level through a Siberian pipeline, its chairman said Wednesday, highlighting Beijing's importance as his country's top export market in the face of Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
Gazprom is negotiating with China over a possible additional supply project across neighboring Mongolia, Viktor Zubkov said at a government-organized economic forum. He said the company is open to serving other Asian markets.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s government sees Moscow as a diplomatic partner in opposing U.S. domination of global affairs and has refused to criticized its invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has called for a cease-fire and negotiations but not a Russian withdrawal.
China's imports from Russia, mostly oil and gas, surged 31.3% over a year ago in January and February to $18.6 billion. That helps President Vladimir Putin offset lost revenue after the United States, Europe and Japan blocked or limited imports.
“Russia is increasing its gas supply to China,” Zubkov said at the Boao Forum for Asia. “The gas supply through the Power of Siberia pipeline will soon reach the contracted annual volume of 38 billion cubic meters,” or 1.3 trillion cubic feet.
Gazprom is negotiating with state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. on a gas supply project through Mongolia that is designed to carry 50 billion cubic meters (1.8 trillion cubic feet), according to Zubkov.
“Russia is open to cooperation with other Asian countries in clean energy supplies," Zubkov said.
Also at the forum, the deputy chairman of the Chinese Cabinet's planning agency said Beijing will balance its plans to reduce carbon emissions with its need for energy security. China is the biggest emitter of climate-changing industrial gases.
The ruling Communist Party stepped up mining of coal and construction of coal-fired generating stations after power shortages in late 2021 caused blackouts and forced factories in some areas to shut down temporarily. Xi said in 2020 that carbon emissions would peak by 2030 but announced no target level.
“We will actively and prudently promote carbon peaking and carbon neutrality," said Zhao Chenxin of the National Development and Reform Commission. “However, we must balance its relations with energy security and development.”