BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2018/01

This week saw the commissioning of the expanded China extension of the Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline. The Russia-China leg's transmission capacity is now at 30 million metric tons a year, but much oil is also shipped by sea to China. China and Russia last year became each other's largest individual markets for oil. China accounted for about 20 % of Russian oil exports, but still about 60 % of Russian oil exports went to EU. Russia's share in Chinese oil imports was about 14 %, while about 40 % of imports came from countries in the Middle East and about 20 % from Africa.

Preliminary figures suggest Russia's total oil exports were up about 1 % last year to 257 million metric tons. Russia's economy ministry expects exports this year to remain roughly at the 2017 level. Export growth may be restricted e.g. by Russia's agreement with OPEC to adhere to production caps.

While no natural gas pipelines yet run from Russia to China, Gazprom reports that slightly over half of the first phase of construction of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline has been completed. Transmission of pipeline gas is slated to start in December 2019. The Yamal Peninsula LNG project that got underway last month is, however, likely to supply first LNG deliveries to China already this year.