ARKANSAS, Oct 18 (Future Headlines)- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh discussed the progress of the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline project during a conference on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Putin expressed optimism that the project to transport Russian gas to China through Mongolia would proceed efficiently. Russia has been increasing energy supplies to China, the world’s second-largest consumer of oil, as Western countries impose extensive economic sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Russia currently provides natural gas to China through the Power of Siberia pipeline. They are working on a substantial agreement to deliver an additional 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually via the Power of Siberia 2. This expansion is crucial to meet China’s growing energy demands. The negotiations have been prolonged, mainly due to unresolved issues such as gas prices.

During the meeting, Putin conveyed that all parties involved were in agreement regarding the Power of Siberia 2 project. Everyone is eager to participate and cooperate, emphasizing that the focus is now on the execution of the project. Putin expressed confidence that the project would move forward smoothly. This is a significant step in strengthening energy cooperation between Russia and China.

While Putin’s visit to China and his discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping have been critical in advancing bilateral relations, the Kremlin has not set the expectation of clinching oil or gas deals during this visit. The discussions, however, serve as vital groundwork for potential energy agreements in the future.

The Power of Siberia pipeline commenced gas supplies to China at the end of 2019. In 2021, it transported 10.5 bcm of gas, and this year, it has increased its supply to 15.5 bcm. The pipeline is scheduled to deliver 38 bcm of gas annually by 2025, under a 30-year contract valued at over $400 billion. This project is a critical component of the Russian-Chinese energy relationship and contributes significantly to China’s energy needs.

The discussions between Putin and Khurelsukh underscore the importance of the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline project in expanding energy cooperation between Russia and China. Putin’s optimism regarding the project’s efficient progression demonstrates the commitment of both nations to enhance their energy partnership. While specific agreements may not be finalized during Putin’s visit to China, these talks set the stage for future developments in energy supply to China, a crucial market for Russia.

Editing by Sarah White