MOSCOW: Russian gas deliveries to Europe can be entirely redirected to the Asia-Pacific region where gas demand is rising, but it would require prompt infrastructure modernization, an energy expert at the Russian company Vygon Consulting, Ivan Timonin, told Sputnik on Sunday. "Russian exports now flowing to Europe could potentially be diverted to the Asia-Pacific region in full. It requires, however, active development of export infrastructure, construction of new gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, which is also time-consuming," Timonin said.
Russia's drive to redirect gas flows to Asia is stemming not only from Europe's quest to stop buying Russian energy, particularly oil products, but is also market-driven, the expert said. Current trends show that Asian countries will account for over a half of natural gas demand by 2025, with consumption increasing by 160 billion cubic meters, primarily in China and India, according to Timonin. At the same time, construction of the Power of Siberia pipeline supplying gas to China took five years and the same time is needed to build large-scale gas liquefaction plants.
"To keep gas exports at the same level, Russia should already start developing new projects and take investment decisions," Timonin added. The supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline have started at the end of 2019, and amounted to 4.1 billion cubic meters in 2020. It is planned to increase the volume of supplies until reaching the design annual capacity of 38 billion cubic meters by 2025. Taking the new February agreement into account, the total capacity of supplies along the Far Eastern route to China could amount to 48 billion cubic meters per year.
Furthermore, the Power of Siberia 2 project is currently under consideration, which aims to deliver up to 50 billion cubic meters of gas annually to China via Mongolia.