(Bloomberg) — Russia expects its pipeline gas exports to recover by almost a fifth this year, partially offsetting the loss of most of its European customers through higher shipments to China. 

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Gas shipments via pipelines to foreign markets will reach 108 billion cubic meters this year, up from 91.4 billion cubic meters in 2023, as the Power of Siberia link to China gradually reaches its nameplate capacity, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak wrote in Energy Policy magazine on Thursday.

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China is becoming the major foreign client for Russia’s gas giant Gazprom PJSC after most pipeline gas shipments to Europe were halted following the Kremlin’s attack on Ukraine in 2022. The export figure anticipated for this year is still well below the 185.1 billion cubic meters Gazprom shipped to overseas customers, excluding former Soviet republics, the year before the invasion.

Supplies via the Power of Siberia have been increasing gradually since late 2019, reaching 22.7 billion cubic meters last year after Gazprom and CNPC signed an addendum to their original contract on higher shipments in 2023. The link is set to reach an annual export capacity of 38 billion cubic meters next year. 

Gazprom also plans to deliver 10 billion cubic meters a year to China via a second pipeline, known as the Far Eastern route and expects gas supplies to start no later than 2027, Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said at the end of last year.

Talks continue over the planned Power of Siberia 2 project to China via Mongolia, which could result in exports of another 50 billion cubic meters. A feasibility analysis was carried out that determined the resource base and preliminary technological parameters of the project, according to Novak. 

“The timing of the construction of the gas pipeline and its main technical and economic indicators will be finalized after signing binding agreements with Chinese partners,” Novak said. 

Russia also expects its exports of super-chilled liquefied natural gas to increase by 14% to 38 million tons this year, according to Novak. That follows the start of production last year at the first train of Arctic LNG 2, a Novatek-led project above the Arctic Circle.

Earlier, Novak said that first shipments from Arctic LNG 2 are expected this quarter even with US sanctions and a force majeure declared by foreign partners in the project.

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