Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) applauds as Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller (C) and CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation) Chairman Zhou Jiping (R) smile holding documents during a signing ceremony in Shanghai, China, 21 May 2014. Photo: EPA/ALEXEY DRUGINYN / RIA NOVOSTI / KREMLIN POOL
The comment comes after Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom and China’s CNPC signed a deal in Shanghai on Wednesday for the delivery of Russian gas to China. The contract comes after almost a decade of negotations.
The deal will see Russia deliver 38 billion cubic metres of gas annually from 2018 for the next 30 years. The contract was signed in the presence of Russian and Chinese presidents, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping respectively.
The deal is estimated to be worth over 400 billion dollars.
“It seems that the price which was negotiated by China is a result of the Ukrainian tensions and a crisis in Europe-Russia relations,” Tusk told journalists, Wednesday evening.
“Russia was in such a desperate need of success … and needed to find other clients [for its gas] that is might have decided to go for a price which barely breaks even,” Tusk added.
Prime Minister Tusk was in Brussels, Wednesday, to take part in a conference put on by the European Commission on the future of Europe’s energy security, attended by EC president Jose Manuel Barroso and EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger.
Prime Minister Tusk said that the Russia-China contract underlines the importance of Poland’s proposals for an EU energy union.
“I can’t discount the possibility that Russia’s panic-stricken search for other clients – for a relatively low price, as experts believe – could be the result of a greater awareness that Europe … will be looking for other sources of energy and moving towards greater [energy] independence,” Tusk said.
Prime Minister Tusk outlined his plan for an energy union earlier this year after crisis hit Ukraine. The plan contains five points, the most contested of which is a proposal which would see the EU purchase gas as a single bloc.
“This has been the greatest challenge from the outset,” Tusk said, adding that more and more partners in the EU “understand that it is worth looking for mechanisms which would put Europe in a stronger position than Russia.” (jb)