New data out from the Chinese customs agency shows Russia has beaten Turkmenistan, Qatar, and Australia, to become China’s largest supplier of natural gas.

Russia supplied 2.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas to China in January. In the same period, Turkmenistan and Qatar delivered 2.2 bcm each, while 1.9 bcm more was delivered from Australia.

Most of the Russian deliveries came via the Power of Siberia pipeline, which has an annual capacity of 38 billion cubic meters. Two billion cubic meters came from Russian state energy giant Gazprom through the pipeline in January. 0.77 billion cubic meters was delivered in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG) shipments.

In January of 2023, China’s total gas imports were up by 1% year over year, to 11.3 bcm. The rise was largely driven by increased LNG imports, which were up 7% year over year, the first rise in 13 months.

In February, Beijing and Moscow inked a deal for additional natural gas deliveries to be made through the Far Eastern Route.

This new project will entail Russia constructing an additional cross-border section of pipeline across the Ussuri river between the existing operational pipeline and the Chinese city of Hulin. The new route will have an annual capacity of 10 bcm, which will be on top of the existing pipeline’s capacity of 38bcm.