Energy cooperation is an important cornerstone of practical cooperation between China and Russia, and it's also a positive force in maintaining global energy security.
Russia-China trade turnover in the energy sector has witnessed a year-on-year growth of 64 percent in 2022, with physical deliveries increasing by around 10 percent, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
Latest data from China's General Administration of Customs showed that in the first two months of 2023, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become the top supplier of oil to China, with imports of Russian crude reaching 1.94 million barrels per day. Russia's total crude exports to China soared to 15.68 million metric tons, up 24 percent year-on-year.
Sibur, the largest integrated petrochemical company in Russia and one of the biggest companies in the global petrochemical industry, entered the Chinese market over 10 years ago and has developed strategic cooperation with China.
The Chinese market is one of the fastest-growing markets and is expected to experience an increase in demand for high value-added products. In 2021, the company sold 500,000 tons of petrochemical products to the Chinese market, mainly consisting of polymers and synthetic rubbers, said the CEO of Sibur International Andrey Frolov, adding that by the fourth quarter last year, the company had increased sales to China to over 200,000 tons per quarter.
In order to simplify the trade, Sibur introduced the RMB option in China, which brought payment flexibility to customers and gave the company an opportunity to strengthen its market position, Frolov said.
ZapSib, Sibur's flagship $8.8 billion production complex in Western Siberia which started full-scale production in 2020, has doubled Sibur's capacity to produce popular plastics, polyethylene and polypropylene. China has a deficit of polyethylene.
Apart from petrochemistry, Russian mining and metallurgical companies have also set their eyes on China.
Valery Kazikaev, chairman of the board of directors of Udokan Copper company, said the company is developing the largest copper deposit in Russia, whose resources amount to 26.7 million tons.
"Two of our main products, copper concentrate and refined copper in cathodes, are planned to supply to China, and we are currently negotiating with potential customers," Kazikaev said.
He stressed the expansion plans are inspired by the prospects for growth in demand in China.
Kazikaev said President Xi Jinping's visit to Russia will strengthen the successful cooperation between the two countries, and Russian enterprises hope the visit will give a new impetus to the development of business and mutual trade.
Kazikaev was echoed by Frolov, whose company has been engaged with China for years. Frolov highly appreciates the level of business cooperation between the countries, which are working at an unprecedented level and are built on trust and mutual benefit.