Jan. 2 (UPI) — China could double the amount of crude oil it receives from Russia with the start of commercial operations of a pipeline, state media reported.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported the second line of a Russian oil pipeline went into commercial service on Monday. It means Chinese imports of Russian crude oil could double from about 100 million to 300 million barrels per year.
“The project is intended to deepen energy cooperation between China and Russia and serve the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative,” the news agency stated.
The initiative is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s efforts to integrate the Chinese economy with European countries. Construction on the 585-mile line second leg began in 2018 and parallels an existing network that runs through China’s Inner Mongolia region.
China is the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States. Oil demand from China in November, the last full month for which data are available, was 9 million barrels per day — the second highest on record.
The World Bank estimated Chinese growth for 2017 should be around 6.8 percent, supported by improvements in household incomes and external demand.
In a statement marking the New Year, Xi said China’s presence on the global stage would be marked by its achievements.
“China will resolutely uphold the authority and status of the United Nations, actively fulfill China’s international obligations and duties, remain firmly committed to China’s pledges to tackle climate change, actively push for the Belt and Road Initiative, and always be a builder of world peace, contributor of global development and keeper of international order,” he said. “The Chinese people are ready to chart out a more prosperous, peaceful future for humanity, with people from other countries.”
Last year, the Chinese president said more than 13 million new jobs were created, 10 million people were lifted out of poverty and basic medical insurance was carried by 1.35 billion people.
Priorities this year for Russian energy company Gazprom, meanwhile, include the development of the Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline, a 2,500-mile network to China. The Kremlin described the pipeline as a way to tie the Russian energy sector to two poles of the economic world.
China also holds a minority stake in a liquefied natural gas facility on the Yamal Peninsula in Russia, alongside French energy company Total and Novatek, the largest private natural gas company in Russia.