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Russia to step up gas contacts with China
[December 31, 2005]

Russia to step up gas contacts with China

(Interfax News Agency Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) - Russia and China are to expand cooperation in the gas sector and are considering major projects to ship gas to consumers in Asia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev told Interfax.

"Our countries intend to broaden cooperation in the gas sector. We are now finishing work on a program aimed at establishing a unified gas extraction, transportation and supply system in eastern Siberia and the Far East taking account of plans to export gas to consumers in Asia. There exists a wide range of interesting projects across the entire Asian continent," he said.

"China has already informed us of its readiness to consider investing in electricity generating facilities on Russian territory," the diplomat said.

Russian gas giant Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation have signed a strategic cooperation agreement, paving the way for natural gas deliveries to China. In addition, UES of Russia and the State Grid Corporation of China have also signed an agreement on long-term cooperation, which envisions the large-scale export of Russian electricity to China.

Russia is interested in considering new options for exporting its oil extracted in western and eastern Siberia to the Asia-Pacific market as part of the East Siberia - Pacific Ocean project, Alexeyev said.

Preliminary estimates place the volume of the two countries' trade in 2005 at up to $28 billion, he said.

"However, we are not satisfied with the structure of
trade, where certain negative trends can still be observed.
Rawmaterials continue to dominate Russian deliveries," Alexeyev said. "The share of engineering products in Russia's overall exports to China declined from 4.8% in 2004 to 2.4% in the first nine months of 2005," he said.

"We view this as a matter of concern and would like to inform our partners at all levels of this," the diplomat said.

The full version of Alexeyev's interview will be posted on the website on January 3. tm la

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