The price China pays for Russian gas should be tied to the European gas price formula, Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said on Monday, following talks between Moscow and Beijing on a long-awaited 30-year gas deal.
Although Russia and China have agreed on the formula, the biggest stumbling block to a deal between the world's largest gas producer and the fastest growing energy market concern the specific ratios, Yanovsky told reporters.
Russia's gas giant Gazprom and China's oil and gas corporation CNPC will hold more talks, he said.
"I think there will be a round of talks on a corporate level, between Gazprom and CNPC, and it may be not the last round," Yanovsky said.
Russia expected to sign the agreement this summer after years of negotiations but the signing fell through because of differences over the price.
China, which intends to buy up to 68 billion cubic meters of gas per year wants to pay $250 per 1,000 cubic meters, while Moscow wants to sell gas at a price no lower than the one paid by customers in Europe. Ukraine, for instance, is set to pay about $400 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in the fourth quarter of this year.
In 2010, Moscow and Beijing signed a binding agreement covering creation of two export corridors to supply Russian gas to China. The first would be supplied with gas from fields in Western Siberia, while the second one envisages development of gas deposits in Eastern Siberia, Russia's Far East and the Sakhalin shelf.
Yanovsky also said that the second variant, the so-called eastern corridor, was being discussed more than the first one, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said this month the parties agreed that Russia would supply no less than 30 bcm through a $14 billion Altai pipeline, the so-called western corridor.
For China, imports of Russian gas will provide further support to its rapidly growing gas market, which has already attracted increased volumes of liquefied natural gas and gas shipped on a pipeline from Turkmenistan.