"The Russia-China gas pipeline will become operational in 2019, in 2020 at the latest," Xu said, speaking on the sidelines of the the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum.
Russia and China have been stepping energy cooperation efforts. In 2014, Russia's Gazprom signed a 30-year agreement with the CNPC for annual deliveries of 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas through the eastern route pipeline, formally known as the Power of Siberia. The project was initially scheduled to begin supplying gas in 2019, starting from 5 billion cubic meters per year and increasing the volume gradually.
In May, Gazprom said that 115 kilometers (71 miles) of the pipeline's 3,000 kilometers set to stretch across Russian territory were constructed in 2015. Another 400 kilometers are planned to be completed in 2016.
The CNPC plans building up to 80 kilometers of the pipeline on the Chinese territory this year. The cross-border section of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline includes an underwater passage across the Amur river.