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New oil pipeline to China, record gas sales to Europe underline Russia’s energy prowess.4 January 2018
Energy glut or not, Russia’s gas and oil trade is booming. Gas exports to Europe, its biggest market, climbed to record levels last year, and the country has now passed Saudi Arabia to become China’s biggest supplier of oil.
Oil exports to China got an additional boost on New Year’s Day with the opening of a second pipeline to northeastern China. Energy consultants FGE believe exports could rise by 200,000 barrels per day, Bloomberg reports.
The global oil glut spurred Russia to seek new markets in China, the world’s biggest oil importer, and the energy partnership is blooming in the other direction too, Bloomberg writes, noting that CEFC China Energy last year bought a $9 billion stake in the giant Russian company Rosneft.
The new oil pipeline parallels an existing line from Mohe on the Russia-China border to the energy hub of Daqing, doubling China’s import capacity to 30 million tons per year, or about 600,000 barrels a day, Bloomberg says.
European prices for Russian crude will likely rise as more production is diverted to China, FGE said.
But Europe’s status as Russia’s most important gas buyer is unlikely to change, despite sanctions and the icy tone of diplomatic relations with the Kremlin in some European capitals.
Russia’s Gazprom supplied record of 193.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Europe and Turkey in 2017, chief executive Aleksei Miller said yesterday. Supplies rose by 8 percent to break the record set in 2016, Platts reports.
Germany, Europe’s largest consumer of Russian gas, imported a record 53.4 bcm last year, a 7 percent rise year on year.
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