Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will start on Tuesday a two-day visit to China to discuss bilateral economic cooperation, but he is not expected to sign a long-anticipated gas deal with Beijing.
Putin will meet with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, President Hu Jintao and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo during the visit.
“The sides will focus on the structure of bilateral trade, the expansion of mutual investment and cooperation in hi-tech industry, and the implementation of long-term energy projects,” Putin’s deputy chief of staff Yuri Ushakov said.
Russia and China are expected to sign about 20 bilateral documents on cooperation in various areas, including modernization of economy, agriculture and veterinary inspections.
“However, the signing of official documents on the deliveries of Russian natural gas to China is not on the agenda of this visit,” Ushakov said.
A document on the basic terms of Russia gas supplies to China was signed on September 27, 2010 during an official visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to China. It set out the main commercial terms for future natural gas supplies, including volumes and the starting date, the 'take-or-pay' level, and the level of guaranteed payments.
Russia's gas giant Gazprom and China's oil and gas corporation CNPC were expected to sign a final agreement on a price for gas deliveries at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum but failed to do so.
Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev said in September that the sides had finally agreed on a price formula for Russian gas exports and the deal could be signed by the end of 2011.
Under the future contract, Gazprom may deliver up to 68 billion cubic meters of gas to China in a 30-year period.