In an attempt to turn Europe into Beijing, Russia is negotiating a new gas pipeline through Mongolia to China.

Russia is discussing a major new infrastructure project to supply gas to China via Mongolia, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, as Moscow seeks to make Europe replace Beijing as its main gas customer, Reuters reported.

Russian President Vladimir PutinPhoto: Sergey Babilev/AP/Profimedia

“We are discussing the implementation of a major infrastructure project, namely the delivery of Russian gas to China via Mongolia,” Putin said in a televised meeting with Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrai Oyun-Erden.

The two leaders spoke at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on the same day. The West has threatened to cut off energy supplies if it accepts price caps on oil and gas exports of Russia.

Gazprom has for years been studying the possibility of a new major gas pipeline – Power of Siberia 2 – crossing Mongolia and taking Russian gas to China.

Gazprom says the proposed pipeline could transport 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year — slightly less than the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that connects Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The existing Power of Siberia pipeline, which runs from Russia to China, was commissioned in late 2019 with a capacity of 61 billion cubic meters per year. It will become a major source of income for Russia in the coming years as Europe seeks to wean itself off its historic dependence on Russian gas.

Just before Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin signed a new 30-year deal to supply gas to China. In 2021, Russia exported 16.5 billion cubic meters of gas to China.

Before launching the Power of Siberia pipeline, all of Russia’s pipeline infrastructure helped supply Europe, and now the Kremlin is building a costly and time-consuming turn to the east.

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State-controlled oil company Rosneft has reached an agreement with the Mongolian government to expand cooperation in the supply of petroleum products, Putin said on Wednesday.

What is known so far about the “Power of Siberia 2” project

Mongolia made the announcement in an interview with the Financial Times in mid-July, Mongolian Prime Minister Oyun-Erdin Luvsannamsrai said. Russia is expected to begin work on the “Power of Siberia 2” gas pipeline within its territory in the next two years.

“The feasibility study of this project has already been completed and we hope to start construction in 2024,” Luvshannamsrai announced.

Arrangements for the construction of the “Power of Siberia – 2” gas pipeline were announced as early as 2014.

After several rejected options, it was decided to run the pipeline through Mongolia, which allows to reduce the length of the pipeline and reduce the cost of construction.

The Power of Siberia 2 pipeline is estimated to be about 2,600 kilometers long, with its final route through Mongolia still under discussion.

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