China and Russia should expand offshore crude oil trading and further cooperate in upstream exploration in the future, Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Oct 31 in Beijing during his meeting with Igor Sechin, president of Russian oil giant Rosneft.
Zhang said Premier Li Keqiang’s successful visit to Moscow in mid-October prepared the way for coming discussions on the energy sector between President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
Zhang said Russia and China should explore new cooperation projects and accelerate a joint-venture refinery project in Tianjin.
Sechin said Russia would like to work together with China to promote more cooperation in the energy sector.
During Premier Li’s visit to Moscow, China and Russia signed 39 agreements covering sectors including trading, investment, energy, finance, high-technology and culture.
Li Jianmin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the agreements between the two countries have set the direction for future cooperation, creating huge potential.
Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corp, the country’s largest oil and gas developer, signed an agreement on October 13 on further strategic cooperation between the two, saying that they will jointly develop upstream oil and gas exploration, refineries and energy trading.
The two are willing to expand their cooperation to engineering technology services, equipment manufacturing and scientific research.
China agreed to provide $25 billion in loans to Russia in 2008. In exchange, energy-rich Russia said it would supply 15 million metric tons of crude oil annually to the world’s second-largest economy for 20 years, beginning in 2011. In 2013, the two sides raised the supply to 22 million tons.
Zhang said China and Russia should follow up the additional oil supply deal.
Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research with Xiamen University, said Russia became one of the top three crude oil suppliers to China last year.
“Russia hopes to be less dependent on its traditional energy market, Europe, through exporting to China, but it won’t want to be too dependent on the China market, either,” Lin said.
Lin said China and Russia should explore more opportunities in the new energy sector.