Russia‘s Gazprom has pledged more than $38bn (£23.7bn) to develop an East Siberian gas field and build a pipeline to the Pacific port of Vladivostok to lessen its reliance on exports to Europe and develop Asian markets.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has ordered Gazprom, the country’s pipeline gas export monopoly, to forge close ties with fast-growing Asia Pacific consumers, such as China and Japan, to offset sagging demand in Europe.
Gazprom’s chief executive, Alexei Miller, told Putin on Monday the company would invest 770bn roubles (£15bn) to build the 2,000-mile pipeline from the Chayanda deposit to Vladivostok. He said 430bn roubles would be invested in development of the field.
“We can create another exporting centre oriented to the Asia-Pacific region,” Putin said, adding that the East Siberian region had huge gas resources.
Gazprom, in partnership with Japanese companies, plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Vladivostok, which could come on stream by 2020, with production of between 10m and 20m tonnes.
Miller said the pipeline was expected to connect Vladivostok in 2017 with the field, which had estimated resources of 1.3tn cubic metres of gas. “In the nearest future we are able to create gas-exporting capacity comparable to that of European gas exports,” he added.
Gazprom’s gas exports to Europe, where it covers a quarter of gas needs, are expected to fall this year from the 150bn cubic metres it shipped in 2011.