YAKUTSK, September 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a ceremony in north-eastern Russia on Monday to launch the construction of the Sila Sibiri (Power of Siberia) gas pipeline intended to pump natural gas to the Russian Far East and China.
The launching ceremony was held near the village of Us Khatyn in Yakutia.
In May 2014, Russian energy giant Gazprom and China’s CNPC signed a huge $400 billion contract for the delivery of 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China annually for a period of 30 years.
“The new trunk gas pipeline will help considerably strengthen economic cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries, first of all, with our key partner China,” Putin said at the launching ceremony.
The Power of Siberia gas pipeline will become a gas transport system for the Irkutsk and Yakutia gas production centers and an export channel for Russian natural gas deliveries to Asia.
The 4,000km (2,485 mile) gas pipeline will be unrivaled in the world in the foreseeable future, Putin said. “There will be no other larger project in this sphere in the near future,” Putin said.
The Power of Siberia gas pipeline’s first stage is scheduled to be commissioned at the end of 2017. The pipeline will have an annual capacity of 61 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
The Russian president said records did not matter but the project was very important both for Russia and China.
“This project will allow Russia not only to export gas but to boost development in this region (Siberia and the Far East) and the whole country in the field of machine-building, the metallurgical, pipe-making and chemical industries,” Putin said.
“This project means large capital investment in the creation of new jobs and hi-tech production facilities,” the Russian president said.
The Power of Siberia gas pipeline project “is becoming possible thanks to a high level of interaction between Russia and China,” Putin said, thanking the Chinese leadership "for direct support".
Putin said ahead of the launch ceremony that the new gas pipeline would make it possible “not only to boost export deliveries and expand the geography of our hydrocarbon exports but also to make another serious step towards developing our country’s gas infrastructure, which is especially important for the eastern part.”
The next step will be "more interesting from the economic standpoint", the Russian president said.
“After we create a network of gas pipelines here, in the Far East and Siberia, we’ll have a possibility to unite the European part of the gas pipeline system with its eastern part and, from the standpoint of export possibilities and expanding the geography of the country’s gas infrastructure development, this will give us big advantages in rechanneling gas flows, depending on the world market situation - either to send more gas to the west and achieve greater effect or to the east,” the Russian president said.