According to an article that Radio Free Asia published, Mikhail Krutikhin, a Russian expert with 25 years of experience in the energy field, recently stated that the Power of Siberia, the natural gas pipeline under construction in Eastern Siberia, represents the complete failure of Putin’s Asia policy. Krutikhin’s comments indicated that, as Beijing is abandoning Russia as a supplier of natural gas and has turned to the U.S. for natural gas imports, the official project launch date in May of 2019, would be postponed. Even if it weren’t postponed, the total volume would be less than the original projection. Power of Siberia, which is worth US$4 billion is a natural gas project for which an agreement was signed in May 2014. Due to Beijing’s lack of trust, Putin didn’t build a pipeline that directly connected to the pipeline from China but rather built a pipeline for China that was part of the pipeline that expands around the Russia-China border connecting to Vladivostok. Unlike what was officially communicated, the current project has two pipelines. One of them has a source of natural gas which is almost depleted and the other one does not even have a customer. The timing, however, is ironic in that, just when the Siberia natural gas pipeline project was about to be completed, the U.S. succeeded in its shale oil technology and China turned to the U.S. for its natural gas, which increased its domestic natural gas supply. The article stated that, meanwhile, oil prices have continued to be weak, which means that Russia may not be able to recover its investment on this project.
Source: Radio Free Asia, February 28, 2018