Russian flag

A technician checks a gas pipeline in Yongqing county, Hebei province. (Photo: Xinhua)

Operations began on the central part of the China-Russia East natural gas pipeline from Thursday, allowing clean energy from Russia to be transmitted to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in northern China.

Stretching from Changling county in Jilin province to Yongqing county in Hebei province, the pipeline is part of the 5,111-kilometer China-Russia East natural gas pipeline that covers nine provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China from Heihe of Heilongjiang province to Shanghai.

The China-Russia East natural gas pipeline is the third trans-border natural gas pipeline after the China-Central Asia gas pipeline and the China-Myanmar gas pipeline, the biggest investment by China National Petroleum Corp in Myanmar as well as the first large-scale oil and gas pipeline facility across the entire country.

Analysts said the pipeline will help meet gas demand in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region during the heating season, which is mostly reliant on pipeline imports.

Li Ziyue, an analyst with BloombergNEF, said the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region relies on pipeline imports from the Shaanxi-Beijing natural gas pipeline and Yulin-Jinan natural gas pipeline, and is complemented by LNG imports from four terminals.

“This is the region with most natural gas consumption, with the highest priority in terms of gas supply,” she said. “The central portion will ensure supply security in the area.”

The 1,110-kilometre pipeline aims to improve air quality in the region, where about a quarter of China’s steel-making capacity is located, by adding 27 million cubic meters of gas every day, China Oil&Gas Piping Network Corp said in a statement on Thursday.

The pipeline also connects the existing gas pipelines in northeastern and northern China, as well as the gas storage facilities in Dalian, Liaoning province, and Tangshan in Hebei province, while promoting economic development alongside the areas, it said.

The northern portion of the China-Russia East natural gas pipeline, from Heihe, Heilongjiang province to Changling, Jilin province was put into operation last year and has transmitted nearly 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas so far, according to pipeline operator PipeChina.

China began construction on the southern portion of the China-Russia East pipeline in July, extending the route to Shanghai. It is expected to be put into operation in 2025 and will transmit 1.89 billion cu m of natural gas from Russia every year to the Yangtze River Delta region.