Gazprom restarts pipeline gas deliveries to China

Russian state controlled gas monopoly Gazprom has resumed natural gas supplies to China via the Sila Sibiri pipeline.

Gazprom said in a statement that flows resumed as planned on 5 April after a one-week maintenance turnaround on the pipeline, that runs from East Siberia to China’s northeast.

The company has never officially revealed the volume of its supplies via Sila Sibiri, but Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak earlier said that Gazprom aims to deliver about 23 billion cubic metres of gas via the route this year.

Despite running for over 2000 kilometres from the Chayanda gas field across mostly unpopulated area to the Russia-Chinaborder, Sila Sibiri has so far had no operational issues since its start-up at the end of 2019.

However, it has been operating far below its stated capacity of 38 Bcm per annum of gas that Gazprom expects the network to reach before end of 2025.

Boosting the throughput capacity depends upon the commissioning of the Amur gas processing plant.

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Gazprom has to yet complete work mon the facility with the help of Russian contractors following the withdrawal of German technology provider Linde after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

According to the Amur plant’s chief contractor Nipigaz, commissioning of the first and second trains are ongoing, while pre-commissioning, clean-up, pressure testing and assembly works are in progress for the third, fourth and fifth trains.

In October 2021, a sudden fire damaged the facility’s second train — which would remove heavier hydrocarbons and other non-spec gases from volumes exported to China — as the unit entered the commissioning phase.

Following the accident in 2021, Nipigaz said it had improved firefighting capacity at the site and planned to build three large water tanks each with capacity to store 30,000 cubic metres.

According to Gazprom, a second turnaround at Sila Sibiri, also set to last for seven days, is planned for the third quarter of this year.

Following its invasion in Ukraine last year and a drastic reduction in its pipeline gas shipments to Europe, Russia has been pushing China for a commitment to start buying up to 100 Bcm per annum of Russian gas from 2030, with two more export pipelines planned to be added to the Sila Sibiri route.