Russia has taken a step towards becoming less dependent on European buyers for its oil and gas with the coming-on-stream of Moscow’s latest pipeline project, the “Power of Siberia”.
It is the latest stage along the road laid out by June’s landmark trade deal between Gazprom and China whereby Beijing agreed to buy 300 billion euros worth of Russian gas over a 30-year period.
The Russians have also opened the door to direct Chinese investment in its energy sector in Siberia’s Vankor field, in partnership with state oil giant Rosneft.
“This is a new pipeline, which allows us not only to increase export deliveries and let us expand the geography of our exports, but also will allow us to take another serious step – supplying gas to our own country, which is especially important for the eastern part of our country, for eastern Siberia and the Far East,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
What this all means for Ukraine is potentially disasterous The new pipeline will not be finished until 2019, but then it can be expected to take gas east, not west, robbing Ukraine of valuable transit fees.
More such pipelines are planned or under construction as Moscow seeks a more diverse client base and an improved infrastructure that bypasses unfriendly states.