BY CHINA DIALOGUE
China and Russia promised more collaboration to open up the northern sea route and develop the Arctic region with more infrastructure, resource extraction and tourism, during Xi Jinping’s state visit last week.
The so-called “Ice Silk Road”, which, ironically, is dependent on global heating reducing ice coverage, aims to “develop a global trade corridor between the Pacific and the Atlantic”, writes government media platform Belt and Road Portal.
“As climate conditions change, the commercial value of the Arctic shipping route will continue to increase,” it quotes an unnamed expert as saying.
Russia’s oil and gas reserves are so far taking centre stage on the Ice Silk Road.
The state visit closed with the announcement of three major oil and gas extraction deals, reports Belt and Road industry information service ‘Going Out’ Intelligence, including a share purchase agreement in the liquefied natural gas project LNG 2.
Expected to come online in 2023, it will be one of the biggest in the region with a production capacity of 19.8 million tonnes per year.
Another state-owned company, China National Chemical Engineering, signed a US$5 billion construction contract for the Krasnoyarsk oil and gas field, estimated to hold at least 2.4 billion tonnes of oil.
An IEA report released this week pointed to China’s “insatiable” demand for gas as the number one reason for surging global consumption, as the country tries to keep up with rising electricity demand and replaces coal with gas.