The pipeline is a major piece of energy infrastructure that can’t be sanctioned or controlled by the US.
I’ll start this post quoting from NPR for context, then add my analysis.
NPR writes about this Russia-China gas pipeline:
“When it’s fully completed, the pipeline will span more than 5,000 miles, joining a 3,000-kilometer (1,864 miles) section in Russia with a 5,111-km (3,176 miles) stretch in China, eventually terminating in Shanghai.”
“Describing the push to create the pipeline, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Monday that the project required 10 new bridges to be built over large rivers, along with more than 100 crossings over small rivers and marshes.
“The 30-year energy agreement relies on a push to convert China’s border city of Heihe from coal to gas, followed by neighboring areas in the northeast.
“China is to import 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2020, ramping up to 38 billion cubic meters annually starting in 2024.
“In Russia, the new pipeline is called the Power of Siberia; in China, media reports are a bit less evocative, referring to it as the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline.
“The pipeline is part of China’s plan to boost its natural gas use to 10% by 2020. But as the state-run media outlet Xinhua reports, the arduous work of stringing together a gas pipeline through tough conditions will now be followed by the task of creating infrastructure and signing up new accounts.”
This seems like fairly innocuous international infrastructure, but it has caused geopolitical rumbling because the US hates when there’s trade deals between other countries, rather than the imperialist, hub-and-spoke model, where everything goes to, and comes from the United States.
However, the US should expect as much from geopolitical rivals like China and Russia.
The thing that’s making the US even more antsy is that Russia has similar pipelines planned that will transfer gas to Germany and Turkey, who are both NATO members.
To Turkey and Germany, it’s kind of a no-brainer to get gas from Russia over the US, simply because it’s much cheaper and easier to send gas through pipelines than it is to ship it overseas.
But for the US, efficiency is rarely a concern when it comes to economics. Economics, to the US, is a realm to enact political plays. Germany getting gas from Russia isn’t just a matter of efficiency, its a political betrayal.
This signals another way in which, as Macron said, “NATO is brain dead”. Read this post on inter-NATO conflict, with France, Turkey, and the US primarily, for more.