Russia and China to sign Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline contract 'in near future', says Novak

FILE PHOTO: OPEC+ holds a meeting in Vienna

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and China expect to a sign a contract "in the near future" on the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline, which will carry Russian gas to China, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was cited as saying by Interfax late on Thursday.

Russia has been in talks for years about building the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline to carry 50 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from the Yamal region in northern Russia to China via Mongolia.

Novak, President Vladimir Putin's top oil and gas point man, is part of the official Russian delegation currently on a visit to China, though Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller is not.

Putin and China's Xi Jinping have pledged a "new era" of strategic partnership on the trip as the Russian leader increasingly turns to China to support his wartime economy.

"We plan additionally to finish the review and sign a contract for the construction of a gas pipeline with a capacity of 50 billion cubic metres of gas through the territory of Mongolia in the near future", Novak was quoted as saying on the Rossiya-1 state television broadcast, referring to the Power of Siberia-2 pipeline.

Moscow and Beijing are also at work on "other new projects", Novak said.

Russia put forward the idea for the pipeline many years ago, but it has gained urgency as Moscow looks to China to replace Europe as its major gas customer.

The 2,600-km pipeline could carry 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year, slightly less than the now defunct Nord Stream 1 pipeline linking Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

The first Power-of-Siberia pipeline runs for 3,000 km (1,865 miles) through Siberia and into China's northeastern Heilongjiang province.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Andrew Osborn)