Russia's Gazprom has completed a study on the technical and economic feasibility of a second gas export pipeline to China, denominated Sila Sibiri 2.
According to the company’s statement, the study covers a 963 kilometre transit section of a pipeline known as Soyuz-Vostok.
This segment of the project will be built using 140 centimetre diametre pipes and will have five compressor stations to keep Russian gas flowing across Mongolia.
Russian analysts expect Gazprom is likely to order both pipes and pipelaying services from a narrow group of contractors that have been catering for the monopoly for years.
Gazprom said that it has employed local contractors for works on on-site research, engineering and environmental mapping along the projected route of the new pipeline that is planned to pass the capital Ulaanbaatar.
A representative of Gazprom-led operator of Soyuz-Vostok pipeline told Mongolia’s news agency Montsame that the construction will require around 12,000 builders at its peak, of which 20% are expected to be hired locally, with this number potentially rising to 50%.
Gazprom has yet to agree terms for gas price sales and volumes of annual supply in China, or on the route to continue the pipeline inside China, but the representative suggested that construction of the Soyuz-Vostok pipeline could begin in 2024.
Soyuz Vostok will be part of the Sila Sibiri 2 pipeline system that will extend for 6700 kilometres, allowing Gazprom to connect its prolific gas fields in the Yamal-Nenets region and deliver up to 50 billion cubic metres per annum of additional gas to China and its capital, Beijing.
Under an existing gas supply contract between Russia and China state-run Gazprom is already contracted to deliver up to 38 Bcm of gas per annum from 2025, with gas to be produced at the Chayanda and Kovykta fields in East Siberia and shipped via the Sila Sibiri pipeline.
Earlier in January, Gazprom said that its gas deliveries via Sila Sibiri to China are already running 150% higher than in the corresponding period of 20212, but did not provided any exact figures.