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MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. The Kremlin can’t say for now if a contract on gas supplies to China will be signed during the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on May 8-9, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
"I can’t answer this question [whether the signing of a gas contract is being prepared for the May visit]," Peskov told journalists.
The visit "undoubtedly implies full-fledged negotiations and some documents are being prepared. But it is early to say now which documents will be submitted for signing," the Kremlin spokesman said.
Russia and China are expected to sign a contract on gas supplies along the western route to pump Russian natural gas from its West Siberian gas fields to its eastern neighbor.
Gazprom Head Alexey Miller held talks in China on February 13 on Russian natural gas supplies via the western route. Miller said after the talks that the project of the gas pipeline to run along the western route was at an advanced stage of readiness for the commencement of its construction. Russia was preparing a new contract with China for the supply of 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year, the Gazprom head said at the time.
Gazprom and China’s CNPC signed a framework agreement on November 10, 2014 on Russian natural gas supplies to China via the western route, using the Altai gas pipeline system.
Direct supplies are scheduled to begin in 2019.
The western route project will supplement Russia’s natural gas supplies to its eastern neighbor via the Power of Siberia pipeline.
The Power of Siberia gas pipeline estimated at over $21 billion is intended to pump 61 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to the Russian Far East and China and will stretch over a distance of 3,968 km (2,465 miles).
The pipeline is designed to pump natural gas from the giant Chayanda oil and gas condensate deposit in Yakutia in northeast Russia and the Kovykta gas condensate field in the Irkutsk Region in Eastern Siberia. The Power of Siberia will run along the operational East Siberia - Pacific oil pipeline, crossing marshlands, mountainous and seismically active areas.
The first stage envisages the construction of the Yakutia-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok trunk gas pipeline. During the second stage, the Irkutsk gas production center based on the Kovykta deposit will be connected with the Yakutia center based on the Chayanda field.
The gas pipeline’s first stage is scheduled to be commissioned in 2017.