Prospects were dim for a Russia-China gas pipeline deal this week during a visit to Moscow by China’s new president, Xi Jinping, as each side remained unmoved by the other’s demand for price concessions, industry sources said on Friday. “We expect that our positions will converge on the contract terms,” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said. “We are not preparing to sign anything.” Russia and China have failed to seal a gas supply deal over nearly two decades, largely because Russia would not cut its price to levels within reach of Chinese end users.
The new Xi presidency is seen as a chance for a fresh start in the talks, but there is no sign the two sides have overcome the local and diplomatic obstacles that stand in the way of a deal. In the meantime, rivals to Gazprom, including state oil giant Rosneft, which has substantial gas reserves of its own, have seized the initiative and are making a play for Asian customers with plans to export liquefied natural gas. – Reuters