Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint video conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping during inaugurating the Power of Siberia pipeline in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.
"This is a genuinely historic event not only for the global energy market but above all for us, for Russian Federation and China", Putin said via a video link in Sochi.
As a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation, the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline went into operation Monday, a successful example of China's practice of the concept of "mutual benefit and win-win" in worldwide cooperation.
"This is important for our country, this is important for China", he said ahead of the launch, stressing that the project would create jobs and infrastructure in Russia's Far East.
Alexei Miller, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom which championed the project, said almost 10,000 people had worked to build the enormous pipeline.
The pipeline, which runs from Russia's enormous reserves in eastern Siberia and will eventually be 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) long, will help satisfy China's vast and expanding energy needs.
Gazprom, Russia's biggest gas producer, signed the $400 billion contract to supply as much as 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 30 years with China National Petroleum Corp.in 2014, after more than a decade of talks.
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The pipeline is part of Russian Federation efforts to develop ties with Asia - in particular top energy importer China - amid longstanding tensions with the West.
Ahead of the launch, officials also said work had been completed on the first road bridge between Russian Federation and China.
The 30-year energy agreement relies on a push to convert China's border city of Heihe from coal to gas, followed by neighboring areas in the northeast.
Moscow however remains a key gas provider to Europe and is also planning to soon launch two more pipelines that will ramp up supplies to the continent while bypassing Ukraine - TurkStream and Nord Stream 2.
The new pipeline emerges in Heilongjiang, which borders Russian Federation, and goes onto Jilin and Liaoning, China's top grain hub.
"The ability to play one off against the other will not have been lost on either Gazprom or the Kremlin", Hill, who leads the S&P Global Platts EMEA gas and power analytics team, wrote in a blog post.
"This is not a commercial project", said Mikhail Krutikhin, estimating the pipeline's cost at some $100 billion, almost double the $55 billion price tag announced by Gazprom.
Here is a list of facts to know about Power of Siberia prior to its historic launch on 2 December. The two neighbors have been forging closer relations in the past two decades amid a growing alienation for both Europe and the United States, and the Power of Siberia project is equally important for Russian Federation and China.