(Yicai Global) Dec. 14 -- The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has responded to reports that Russia seized China's heating season as a chance to export natural gas to China at a higher price, saying that it has not found that to be the case.
Russia was China's 11th largest source of liquefied natural gas imports in the first 11 months of this year, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said today.
Chinese imports of natural gas rose 26.5 percent annually to 60.7 million tons during that period, Gao said. Russia's contribution increased 49.6 percent to 384,000 tons, Gao said.
Cooperation between China and Russia in this sector has huge potential. The Yamal Liquefied Natural Gas Project Phase I, a major energy tie-up involving the two counties, entered formal operation on Dec. 8 with an annual production capacity of 5.5 million tons.
Its annual production capacity will be up to 16.5 million tons after the third stage's completion. China will receive about one-third of that. Welding work on 11 joints along the northern section of the China-Russia East-Route Natural Gas Pipeline started yesterday.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce will continue to actively support enterprises in increasing domestic gas production and importing natural gas resources from foreign countries such as Russia in a diversified way, said Gao.