President Vladimir Putin and China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli enthusiastically broke ground on the “Power of Siberia” natural gas pipeline on September 1st, 2014.
And since then, the project connecting Yakutia’s vast gas reserves to energy-hungry China has been barreling its way through larges stretches of Siberian wilderness.
Undertaken by Russia’s state gas company Gazprom, it represents a $400 billion investment and could turn global energy politics on its head.
Construction began at a fortuitous time. It was in 2014 that Europe and America began the current economic sanctions efforts directed at Russia, forcing Moscow to at least reconsider the feasibility of doing long-term business with its western “partners.”
Fortunately, Beijing was all to willing to fill the gap. The pipeline thus represents a larger reorienting of Russia away from Europe and toward Asia – a move not so much chosen by Moscow as forced by Washington and Brussels – but one which is probably in Moscow’s best interest.
So while American client states like Poland and Lithuania line up to buy greatly overpriced LNG from US sources, China is more than happy to “buy Russian” – the choice which makes the business sense. (We know the Chinese are good businessmen. The Poles? Well they just plopped down $4.75 billion on an outclassed 30-year old air defense system – but hey, at least it’s not Russian.)
Once the world’s biggest untapped energy reserve – Russia – and the world’s biggest producer – China – are bound by this umbilical cord, it could have economic and political repercussions Europe and America never predicted when they forced the two together.
The project’s construction managers report that building the pipeline is traversing areas so remote, it is probable no human being has ever set foot there.
In that sense, the logistical challenges of building the pipeline are almost like waging a war on hostile territory – or on another planet.
Even western mainstream media has had to finally give the Power of Siberia project its due accolades and recognition – as you can see in the Financial Times video report above.