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China, Russia ink long-awaited gas deal

China and Russia on Wednesday inked the long-awaited gas deal in Shanghai, ending the decade-long natural gas supply talks between the two neighbors.

The supply deal came one day after visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "significant progress" had been made over the price in the lengthy talks.

Two documents, China and Russia Purchase and Sales Contract on East Route Gas Project and a memorandum, were signed at a ceremony attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Over the past years, talks, which started in 2004, have stalled over price. The agreed price in the latest deal is not known.

According to a news bulletin on the website of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the contract will see the east route pipeline starting providing China with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from 2018.

In 2013, CNPC signed a framework gas supply agreement with Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest gas company.

"The deal...fully embodied the principle of mutual trust and mutual benefit of China and Russia," said the bulletin.

It added that the agreement will accelerate the economic and social development in Russia's far east region, and also diversify the export of the major oil and natural gas exporter.

The gas supply deal was signed on the sidelines of the fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, a regional security summit which Xi and Putin are attending.

China and Russia have vowed to strengthen cooperation in energy and infrastructure in Russia. According to a joint statement signed by the two leaders after their talks on Tuesday, the two countries will "establish a comprehensive energy cooperation partnership."

CNPC chairman Zhou Jiping and Wu Xinxiong, head of China's National Energy Administration and also deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic watchdog, signed the deal on the Chinese behalf.

[Source: Xinhua, Shanghai, 21May14]

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