BEIJING, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - A $10-billion gas pipeline from Russia to China could be commissioned in 2011, a member of the delegation accompanying President Vladimir Putin on his visit to China said Tuesday.
"Russian natural gas could reach China as early as in 2011, and the pipeline could cost about $10 billion," the source said, adding that Russia saw China as a reliable new market.
He said investment would not pose a problem. "A project is profitable if it is economically viable," the source said. "This is a key condition for implementation."
He also said Russian energy giant Gazprom had agreed on a price formula for gas deliveries with its Chinese partners, without giving details.
The source said the project was crucial for Russia's energy security in the country's search for reliable customers, and that Russia would fulfill all delivery commitments given to European consumers.
President Putin said earlier Tuesday that construction of a new natural-gas pipeline to the energy-consuming giant was still possible.
"Exports of Russian gas to China will come from East and West Siberia," Putin said, adding that exports from West Siberia were easier and quicker.
Putin also said delivery volumes would total 30-40 million cubic meters of gas a year.