China and Russia stepping up energy cooperation

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A staff member works at the Yongqing compressor station of the Changling-Yongqing section of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline in Yongqing county, North China's Hebei province, Dec. 3, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

China and Russia have been stepping up energy cooperation during the first nine months of this year with bilateral energy trade reaching a new high, and the two sides vowed to further enhance energy cooperation in sectors like oil and gas, nuclear, petrochemicals and renewables.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia in the energy industry in the January-September period reached $34.9 billion, which accounts for 34.3 percent of the total bilateral trade between the two sides, data from the National Energy Administration showed.

Coal and power trade between China and Russia has also been on the rise. This year, bilateral trade in both natural gas and coal has increased more than 60 percent year-on-year so far, while the electricity trade volume rose 1.4 percent year-on-year to 2.38 billion kilowatt-hours, it said.

Scale of electricity trade between China and Russia during the fourth quarter is expected to rise from the planned 700 million kWh to 1.64 billion kWh, according to the administration. Total power trade between the two sides this year is expected to reach 4 billion kWh, up around 30 percent year-on-year, it said.

An analyst said as the two sides vowed to strengthen coordination on global energy governance and climate change response, energy cooperation between China and Russia is expected to further enhance this year.

"Energy cooperation between the two sides is complementary, as Russia is a major oil and gas exporter while China is a major energy importer," said Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute.

"Energy cooperation has expanded from oil and gas to the entire power sector, which is also a major breakthrough."

Luo said he believes natural gas will be a focus of cooperation in the future, and imported natural gas can drive the whole natural gas industrial chain, including gas transmission, storage and gas power generation. He said the two countries should promote more low-carbon cooperation projects and play a constructive role in achieving global sustainable development goals.

"As China's demand for natural gas will last for a long time and Russia is rich in gas, cooperation in the future will only be enhanced."

Liu Changxin, deputy director general of the business development and international cooperation department of China National Nuclear Corp, said China and Russia share broad prospects in nuclear cooperation.

Major cooperation between the two countries includes units 7 and 8 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, and units 3 and 4 of the Xudapu Nuclear Plant in Huludao, Liaoning province, the largest China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project to date. These have made a significant contribution to China and Russia's strategic cooperation, and CNNC is willing to further strengthen energy cooperation with Russia, Liu said.

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