Gazprom Eyes Low-Carbon Partnership With China

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Russia’s Gazprom plans to soon renew a technological partnership program with China, with a bigger focus on low-carbon technologies, deputy CEO in charge of strategy Oleg Aksyutin told an in-house magazine last week. The state-run natural gas giant is now preparing to sign a new general cooperation agreement and a new three-year research and development cooperation plan, with almost 50 areas of potential partnership, Aksyutin said. Technological partnership with China has become increasingly important for Moscow, as the use of Western technology is restricted by the sanctions imposed in 2014 over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and actions in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has pursued a policy of import replacement aimed at reducing the reliance of key industries on foreign technology and equipment by developing domestic analogues, but this hasn’t been progressing as smoothly as planned (NC Mar.25'21). Under the new three-year cooperation plan, the main areas of cooperation with China will include a joint study of technology for production, use and storage of hydrogen made from natural gas and study of comprehensive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among others, Aksyutin said. The focus on a decarbonization partnership is understood to be driven by China’s pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. Still, Gazprom sees China as a promising market for its vast natural gas reserves, while the traditional export market of Europe poses bigger long-term energy transition risks. Moscow sees great potential for both pipeline gas and LNG exports in the decades to come as coal is phased out.

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