Gazprom begins tests on gas field for China exports

Gazprom said Tuesday it has begun operational tests on the Kovykta natural gas field in eastern Siberia, bringing Russia a step closer to boosting energy exports to China.

The tests announced Tuesday are part of the measures to put the Kovykta gas field into service, which is expected in December, and will allow Russia to increase exports to China.

“Putting the Kovykta into service is an important step in the implementation of the ‘Power of Siberia’ project and the creation of new centres of gas production in the east of the country,” Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said in a Telegram statement.

Miller described Kovykta as “a key resource base for the development of gas supply to the eastern regions of Russia and for exports” to China.

Bringing Kovykta into production comes as Russian gas exports to Europe decreased following the beginning of the Ukraine offensive.

Russia does not have pipelines to transport gas from its Western Siberian and Arctic gas fields that have served Europe to China, but around a decade ago began efforts to develop new fields and build the Power of Siberia pipeline to deliver it the rapidly expanding market.

The first Power of Siberia pipeline went into operation and began to ship gas from eastern Siberia to China at the end of 2019.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last month that Gazprom would increase gas deliveries to China to 20 billion cubic metres per year.

It shipped 10.4 billion cubic metres of gas to China last year.

Russia aims to export 38 billion cubic metres of gas to China by 2025, when the pipeline reaches maximum capacity.

Moscow plans to build a Power of Siberia 2 pipeline, yet another sign that Russia is looking to China in the face of Western sanctions. (AFP)

Opec+ likely to maintain oil output levels

Major oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia look set to maintain their current output levels at a meeting Sunday, ahead of fresh sanctions against Moscow coming into force.