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China and Russia sign energy agreements

At work on China/
Russia pipeline
Beijing, China — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 24 November 2010 – China and Russia have signed agreements to expand cooperation in oil, gas, coal and nuclear power, as economic growth in China drives energy demand in that country.

“Russia will start to export supplies of crude oil to China through a pipeline on 1 January 2011,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing said here in a statement on its website.

Bloomberg News reports that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is meeting Russian leaders this week as the countries seek to deepen cooperation in areas including energy, technology and finance. Bilateral trade is likely to exceed US$50 billion (R350 billion) this year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Wen may seek to bridge a divide in pricing expectations under a gas supply deal. The gap is about US$100 per thousand cubic metres, Gu Jun, deputy director-general of the international department at China’s National Energy Administration, said last week.

The Chinese premier and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had official talks in St. Petersburg, and Wen is scheduled to meet with President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow.

The mission to Russia follows Medvedev’s visit to China in September during which he and President Hu Jintao launched the cross-border oil pipeline.

Coal imports from Russia may exceed 12Mt this year, the Chinese foreign ministry said, without giving a comparative number.