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Russian-China gas deal near, boosting relations: Putin

(Shanghai Daily)

07:55, October 12, 2011

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (right) shakes hands with Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday. The two countries signed nine agreements covering areas such as agriculture, tourism and the economy. In one pact, Russian state bank VEB and the China Development Bank signed a deal for the Chinese bank to invest US$1.5 billion in building the first stage of UC RUSAL's 750,000-ton Taishet aluminium smelter.(Shanghai Daily Photo)

Russia said yesterday it was nearing the final stage of a huge gas export deal with China, in what would be a landmark trade agreement between the giant neighbors.

A deal to supply the world's second-biggest economy with up to 68 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year over 30 years has long been delayed over pricing disagreements.

"We are nearing the final stage of work on gas supplies," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told reporters in Beijing after talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

He also said that Russia and China are working on new energy transportation routes.

"Russia began to supply oil to China through the Skovorodino-Daqing oil pipeline on January 1 this year," Putin said.

The nearly 1,000-kilometer China-Russia crude oil pipeline originates in the town of Skovorodino in east Russia's Amur region and ends at Daqing in northeast China. The pipeline should supply 15 million metric tons of oil annually.

Putin is hoping his two-day visit - his first trip abroad since revealing last month that he plans to reclaim Russia's presidency - will broaden trade with China, which he expects to grow to US$200 billion in 2020 from US$59.3 billion last year.

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