Russia and China put pen to paper on a 30-year deal for gas supply today.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping looked on as a reported $400 billion (£237bn) deal between their state gas companies was signed.
New markets for Russian gas are a boon for the nation as it tries to lessen the impact of recent sanctions from Western nations.
Mr Putin has been in Beijing for several days on an official state visit and today he told journalists the gas contract was a “historic event” for Russia’s gas industry.
He added the Chinese negotiators drove a “hard bargain” with talks lasting through the night into the early hours of the morning.
The new Eastern Route will link up the large gas fields of Kovykta and Chayanda to China. Mr Putin said these hold at least three trillion cubic metres of accessible gas, possibly more.
Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller who signed the deal with his counterpart at CNPC Zhou Jiping said: “Over 1 trillion cubic meters of gas will be supplied during a whole contractual period. Russian gas will be sold at a brand new market with a huge potential.”
During the state visit another Russian energy boss – Rosneft’s Igor Sechin – met with Mr Jiping to talk about cooperating on building an oil refinery at Tianjin.