As China phases down on the usage of coal energy, Moscow sees an opportunity to decrease its dependence on Western buyers and make a pivot toward Chinese markets.
In an attempt to wean the country from its dependence on the European gas market, Russia has increased gas exports to China, using the Siberia pipeline.
The pipeline, also known as the Eastern Route, delivers energy "via the mega gas pipeline regularly" and it exceeds daily "contractual obligations”.
The pipeline became functional in 2019, spanning 3,000 kilometres, and has the capacity of carrying 61 billion cubic metres of gas per year, with 38 billion cubic metres slated for export.
The two countries are working toward developing another gas route through Mongolia called Soyuz Vostok.
Expanding its energy market in China has been one of its top priorities for Russia. As Beijing is in the process of phasing down coal usage, the Kremlin seems eager to “exploit the opportunity” in light of their growing alliance.
Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, said on Tuesday that it supplied 42.6 percent less gas to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a segment that includes most of the European Union.
The Gazprom report noted that total exports had decreased from 158.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in the first ten months of 2021 to 91.2 bcm in the first ten months of 2022.
European countries whose gas purchases from Gazprom remain capped have been stockpiling gas thanks to unusually mild autumn weather –– Bloomberg noted that in the past, Russia had regularly supplied about a third of Europe’s gas consumption.
Even while EU gas storage sites remain at a 94 percent capacity, higher than the past five years’ seasonal average of 89 percent, Bloomberg pointed out the words of Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller, who said if the weather were to get abnormally cold, Europe’s gas reserves wouldn’t keep citizens warm throughout the winter.
Bloomberg quoted Miller as adding “Europe could lack some 800 million cubic metres of gas a day without Russian supplies during high demand.”
According to Bloomberg, Gazprom continues to supply gas flows via Ukraine at capped levels and “those to Hungary and Serbia are going through one leg of the TurkStream pipeline” that runs from Russia to Türkiye.