Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has said that while China will honor its contractual obligations under a project to supply Russian natural gas to China through the contracted eastbound route, delays were possible in the launch of a westbound route because of a consumption drop in China.
When asked by reporters whether the reduced gas consumption in China could cause changes in the timeframe set for Russian-Chinese gas projects, he said: "There are various projects. There are projects that are already being implemented as commercial projects under finalized contracts, such as Power of Siberia, an eastbound gas pipeline. I don't think there can be any change here."
"As for the western branch, the Altai, it is probably possible because the percentage of secured supplies is not as high, changes are possible there," the minister told reporters on Jan.16 in Beijing where he attended a board meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Russian gas supplies to China through the eastbound route are due to begin somewhere between May 2019 and May 2021. After the initial five-year period the route should reach a capacity of 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
Gazprom [MOEX: GAZP] is expecting to sign a contract for supplies through the westbound route (30 billion cubic meters per year) in the first half of 2016.
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