As trade between China and Russia continues to grow and energy remains a major focus, industry analysts and market observers anticipate increased energy cooperation between the two nations in the years to come.
According to Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute, energy will be the cornerstone of further enhanced oil and gas trade between the two countries this year. He notes that Russia, a major oil and gas exporter, is complementary to China, a major energy importer, making energy cooperation between the two nations a natural fit.
As China is expected to import record amounts of crude oil and increase its liquefied natural gas imports in 2023 due to waning COVID-related disruptions, the country’s demand for Russian energy is anticipated to remain strong this year, according to global research, analytics, and consultancy company Wood Mackenzie.
Recent data from the General Administration of Customs shows that in the first two months of 2023, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia to become China’s top supplier of oil. Meanwhile, China’s imports of Russian pipeline gas and liquefied natural gas soared last year.
The completion of the eastern route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline in December 2022 marks a new milestone in energy cooperation between the two nations. By 2025, the pipeline is expected to supply 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to regions including the three provinces in Northeast China, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and the Yangtze River Delta region.
Bilateral trade in the first two months of 2023 surged 36.4 percent to reach 232.5 billion yuan ($33.8 billion), demonstrating the continuous strong growth momentum of bilateral economic cooperation. As Russia continues to ramp up exports of its energy and agricultural products to China and Chinese-made goods gain popularity in the Russian market, Song Kui, president of the Contemporary China-Russia Regional Economy Research Institute, anticipates further deepening of economic cooperation between the two nations.