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China, Russia to start construction of joint gas pipeline

China and Russia are to start construction of a joint natural gas pipeline in Russia's eastern Siberia this weekend, in implementation of a natural gas supply contract signed between the two countries.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli flew in from Moscow to Yakutsk, the capital city of Russia's Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, Sunday evening to attend a start-of-construction ceremony for the Russian part of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline.

Zhang's attendance at the start-of-construction ceremony reflects the importance that the Chinese government attaches to the comprehensive strategic partnership with Russia and its will to expand bilateral cooperation to wider fields and higher levels.

Pipe-welding will begin on Monday in the Russian part of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline, which the Russian side named "Siberia Power" pipeline.

According to a contract signed under the witness of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Shanghai meeting in May, the pipeline will transmit 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas every year to China over a period of 30 years starting from 2018.

The Russian stakeholder of the pipeline Gazprom estimates that total investment in the project could exceed 5 billion U.S. dollars.

Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller said Saturday that the gas supply contract was just a good beginning of bilateral cooperation in the field of natural gas.

He said the Russian side is working on implementing the consensus reached by President Putin and President Xi and will undoubtedly build the planned West Route of the natural gas pipeline and export gas to China through it.

The start of construction of the East Route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline signifies a major step forward in implementing the consensus reached by Xi and Putin.

The Russian part of the pipeline will link the Kovyktin and Chayandin gas fields in Siberia with the eastern port city of Vladivostok, covering a total distance of nearly 4,000 km.

Vice Premier Zhang said the breakthrough on the natural gas project and other large-scale projects helped drive the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership into a new era of development.

Zhang visited Moscow to co-chair the 11th meeting of the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich in Moscow on Saturday.

[Source: Xinhua, Yakutsk, Rus, 31Aug14]

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