January deliveries topped 2.5 billion cubic meters © Getty Images / Chun han

Russia has become China’s largest supplier of natural gas, beating Turkmenistan, Qatar, and Australia, data from the Chinese customs agency shows.

Total supplies of the Russian fuel amounted to 2.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in January. During the same period, Turkmenistan and Qatar supplied 2.2 bcm each, while 1.9 bcm more came from Australia.

Most of the Russian gas comes to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline, which has an annual capacity of 38 billion cubic meters. Russia’s state energy major Gazprom delivered nearly 2 bcm of gas via the pipeline in January. Another 0.77 bcm came in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments.

China’s total gas imports in January 2023 rose by 1% year-on-year, up to 11.3 bcm. The rise largely came from increased LNG imports which grew for the first time in 13 months, by 7% year-on-year.

In February, Moscow and Beijing signed an agreement for additional natural gas supplies to China via the Far Eastern Route.

Under the project, Russia will construct a cross-border section across the Ussuri River between the already operational Russian pipeline and the Chinese city of Hulin. The route will have annual capacity of 10 bcm, bringing the total capacity of Russia’s annual pipeline gas deliveries to China to 48 bcm.

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