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Putin opens major gas field in Siberia to supply China

Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated the Kovykta natural gas field in Siberia on Wednesday (21), which will boost exports to China amid a crisis between Moscow and the West.

“We are inaugurating the Kovykta field, the largest in eastern Siberia,” Putin said at a televised ceremony, adding that this will “give a serious boost to the development” of Russia’s eastern regions.

Its reserves reach 1.8 trillion cubic meters, according to the Russian president.

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“The operation of this site will make it possible to ensure reliable gas supplies (…) both for Russian companies and foreign partners,” Putin emphasized.

This field presents “new opportunities for economic and social development, as well as others for increasing our exports,” added the CEO of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller.

Located near Lake Baikal in Siberia, this Kovykta field is expected to supply the Power of Siberia pipeline, which began shipping gas from eastern Siberia to China in late 2019.

Efforts to develop new fields and build the Power of Siberia pipeline to supply gas from its eastern territories to a rapidly expanding market began a decade ago.

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The inauguration of the Kovykta comes at a time of falling Russian gas exports to Europe due to rising tensions since the start of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

The Russian authorities want to expand their deliveries to 20 billion cubic meters per year, thanks mainly to the reserves at the Kovykta deposit.

Moscow plans to build the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline starting in 2024 to supply gas to China via Mongolia, another sign that Russia is turning to China to react to Western sanctions.

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