THE WASHINGTON POST
After almost a decade of negotiations, China and Russia inked a huge, 30-year natural gas deal, believed to be worth more than $400 billion. The deal gives the energy-hungry Chinese a vital new source of liquefied natural gas; it gives the Russians an important new market for its energy resources, an imperative made all the more urgent by renewed tensions with the West.
The deal had been in the works for years, delayed over Sino-Russian wrangling over the price of the gas. Reports suggest that Russian state company Gazprom obtained a price commensurate to what it charges customers in Europe — a market that is desperate to wean itself off its dependence on Russian natural gas. Russia now aims to pipe 38 billion cubic meters worth of gas to China annually. «This is the biggest contract in the history of the gas sector of the former USSR,» trumpeted Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was on a visit to China this week. «Our Chinese friends are difficult, hard negotiators.»
But what does this deal actually look like? Russia says it will begin delivering gas by 2018, though some experts suggest that there won’t be enough transportable gas ready to pipe from Russia’s eastern gas fields until 2020. Then there’s the small matter of the pipelines that have yet to be constructed… MORE
FINANCIAL TIMES EDITORIAL
May 21, 2014 6:46 pm
China’s junior ally in the Kremlin
Gas deal with Beijing underscores Russia’s weakness
Russia, China and the US have long formed what diplomats call a “strategic triangle” in international affairs. History shows that if two of these states forge a strong bilateral relationship, the third risks being isolated on the big foreign policy issues of the day.
President Richard Nixon’s unexpected “opening to China” in 1972 was the most striking example of how this geopolitical network operates. The rapprochement between Washington and Beijing wrongfooted the Soviet Union, and helped the west to put pressure on the USSR in the late stages of the cold war.
Now it is the US that is being excluded within the triangle. It has taken a hostile approach to both Russia and China over the crisis in Ukraine and alleged Chinese cyber espionage. Moscow and Beijing have responded by engaging in a diplomatic rapprochement that threatens to rebuff the US and complicate western diplomacy… MORE
On this story from FT
- China and Russia sign gas deal
- The World Russia pivots to Asia
- Russia and China wrestle over gas deal
- The A-List Look to China for wisdom on dealing with Russia
- Securing China deal key for Gazprom