Russia started pumping gas to China on Monday through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, also known as the eastern route.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping took part in the launch ceremony via teleconferencing, the Kremlin said in a statement published on its official website.
Putin praised the event as “historic,” saying it will help take Russian-Chinese cooperation to a new level.
“This year is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations [between Russia and China]. And this year we will start supplying Russian pipeline gas to China,” he said.
“This step brings Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation in the energy sector to a qualitatively new level, bringing us closer to solving the task set together with Chinese President XI Jinping of bringing bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024.”
In turn, Xi said the pipeline launch marks a new stage in bilateral ties between the two countries.
“The eastern branch of the Russian-Chinese gas pipeline is a landmark project in bilateral energy cooperation, it serves as a model of deep integration of mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries,” he said.
A 30-year purchase and sale contract for the Russian gas supply to China was signed in 2014 by Russian gas corporation Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
For this purpose, Gazprom constructed a 2,200-kilometer (1,367-mile) gas pipeline named Power of Siberia.
According to preliminary agreements, Russia will pump 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China annually.