September 12, 2018 / 3:28 AM / a month ago

Russia says getting closer to deal on new gas route to China

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) - Russia is getting closer to concluding a deal on a new route for transporting gas to China, its energy minister said on Wednesday.

That comes as the Chinese government has been pushing to switch businesses and households to gas and away from coal for heating as part of its war on pollution.

“Yesterday, during the talks with China’s Xi (Jinping), the Chinese head set the task of concluding the agreement of a contract on gas supplies via the western route in the nearest future,” Alexander Novak, Russia’s energy minister, told a conference in Vladivostok in the far east of Russia.

“All the technical conditions have been agreed,” he added. Talks on the proposed route have been on and off over the last few years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Tuesday in Vladivostok.

The so-called western route would come in the wake of an East Siberian route through which Russian gas giant Gazprom is due to start supplying China with natural gas in December 2019, increasing volumes gradually to 38 billion cubic meters per year.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Joseph Radford

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