Altai gas pipeline

The Altai gas pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline to export natural gas from Russia’s Western Siberia to North-Western China.

The memorandum on deliveries of Russian natural gas to China was signed by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and CNPC CEO Chen Geng during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to China in March 2006. The project was put on hold due to disagreements over natural gas price and competition from other gas sources in the Chinese market.

In 2013, Gazprom and CNPC agreed to instead pursue a more eastern route, the Power of Siberia gas pipeline. In 2014 the projected was resumed during the APEC summit.

The 2,800 kilometres (1,700 mi) long pipeline would start from the Purpeyskaya compressor station of the existing Urengoy–Surgut–Chelyabinsk pipeline. It would carry natural gas from Nadym and Urengoy fields in Western Siberia. Total length of Russian section will be 2,666 kilometres (1,657 mi), including 205 kilometres (127 mi) in Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region, 325 kilometres (202 mi) in Khanty–Mansi autonomous region, 879 kilometres (546 mi) in Tomsk Oblast, 244 kilometres (152 mi) in Novosibirsk Oblast, 422 kilometres (262 mi) in Altai Krai, and 591 kilometres (367 mi) in the Altai Republic. The terminal point in the Russian territory is the Kanas mountain pass. Large part of the pipeline will be built within the technical corridor of existing pipelines, such as the Urengoy—Surgut—Chelyabinsk, Northern Tyumen–Surgut—Omsk, Nizhnevartovsk gas refinery – Parabel, Parabel—Kuzbass, Novosibirsk—Kuzbass, Novosibirsk—Barnaul, and Barnaul—Biysk pipelines. In China, the pipeline would be terminated in the Xinjiang region, where it will be linked to the West–East Gas Pipeline.

The diameter of the pipeline would be 1,420 millimetres (56 in). The designed capacity of the pipeline would be 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) natural gas annually and the total costs of the whole project is expected to be up to US$14 billion. The pipeline was originally expected to become operational in 2011. The pipeline will be built and operated by TomskTransGaz, the subsidiary of Gazprom.

The pipeline project was criticized by environmental organizations, because it was planned to run across the Ukok Plateau, which is the natural habitat of the snow leopard and other endangered species. Besides, Altai national leaders fear that laying the pipeline and accompanying technical highway will pave way for a Chinese expansion into Altai. The pipeline route impacts burial sites and shrines in the region.