Russian gas exports to China are poised to match the pre-sanctions level of supplies to the European Union (EU), according to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller. Miller highlighted that exports to China are crucial in offsetting the volumes rejected by EU buyers due to sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine.
Data from Chinese customs revealed that Russia became China’s top supplier of natural gas in January 2023. Notably, gas supplies through the Power of Siberia pipeline alone have surged by 50% this year, reaching 15.5 billion cubic meters. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak added that pipeline gas sales to China are projected to increase by 43% to 22 billion cubic meters in 2023.
Moreover, Russia has plans to boost gas exports to Asian markets, targeting 170 billion cubic meters over a seven-year period once major infrastructure projects are completed. This includes the construction of the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline through Mongolia and expanding supplies via the existing Power of Siberia pipeline.
The European Union has historically been a significant consumer of Russian gas, with the bloc purchasing 155 billion cubic meters in 2021. This represented 45% of the EU’s total gas imports and around 40% of its gas consumption. However, in 2022, Russian pipeline gas deliveries to the EU decreased by nearly half, reaching approximately 80 billion cubic meters, based on data from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
The shift in Russian gas exports to China comes as the country seeks to diversify its energy markets and reduce dependence on European customers. By strengthening its relationship with China, Russia aims to secure a stable market for its gas and mitigate the impact of EU sanctions.
The expansion of gas exports to China will not only benefit Russia but also contribute to China’s growing energy demand. As the world’s largest energy consumer, China continues to rely heavily on coal as a source of energy. Increasing imports of Russian natural gas aligns with China’s efforts to transition towards cleaner fuel sources and reduce its carbon emissions.
Overall, Russia’s gas exports to China hold significant implications for the global energy landscape. With European demand waning due to sanctions and a shift towards renewable energy sources, Russia is strategically redirecting its gas supplies to the booming Chinese market. This move not only bolsters Russia’s position as a key energy player but also reinforces China’s role in shaping global energy dynamics.