15 Power of Siberia
For pumping new energy into the natural gas industry while forging superpower polar bonds
When the Power of Siberia pipeline opened between Russia and China in December 2019, it did more than connect the world’s biggest natural gas exporter to the world’s largest energy consumer. Launched by Russian energy giant Gazprom, the five-year, US$55 billion project also fortified a symbiotic superpower partnership. The 30-year deal gives Russia much-needed access to a key market, while allowing China to extend its Belt and Road Initiative into the Arctic.
The pipeline delivers natural gas 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) from Russia’s Siberian fields to northern China for the first time. Here’s a look at some critical points on the route:
Chayandinskoye: The starting point of the pipeline, these fields contain 1.2 trillion cubic meters (42.4 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas.
Yakutia: With temperatures here dropping to as low as - 62 degrees Celsius (- 79.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the team designed pipes to withstand the cold and wrapped them with a coating made of nanocomposite materials to prevent corrosion.
Skovorodino: The pipeline passes through areas in Russia prone to earthquakes. To prevent potential damage from seismic activity, teams installed pipes with enhanced flexibility for these areas.
Amur River: Engineers used a tunneling shield to protect the pipeline as it passes beneath the Amur River, just before crossing into China. The team constructed a frame under the river to prevent collapse and then built two 1,139-meter-long (3,737-foot-long) sections of pipeline within the frame.
Blagoveshchensk: When construction reached the border between the two countries, both governments established a temporary zone to facilitate the flow of workers and materials.
Heihe: The pipeline connects with an existing network in China and will eventually transport Russian natural gas all the way to Shanghai.