Russia's Gazprom said on Monday it was launching feasibility studies on constructing a second gas pipeline to China that would more than double the volumes it could deliver to the energy-hungry nation.
"The objective is to connect the gas transportation infrastructure in the west and the east of Russia," Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
The idea of a second Power of Siberia pipeline has been kicked around for several years to augment Russia's ability to export energy to China.
The more than 2,000-kilometre Russian section of the first Power of Siberia pipeline was inaugurated at the end of last year and will be able to carry up to 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually all the way to Shanghai once the Chinese section is finished in 2022 or 2023.
While the first pipeline will tap gas fields in eastern Russia, the new one will likely link up to fields in western Russia such as the one on the Yamal peninsula which also supplies Gazprom's European customers.
Miller did not mention a potential date for construction of the pipeline, but said it might be built to carry up to 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year and might cross Mongolia.
China signed a 30-year gas supply agreement with Russia in 2014 worth an estimated $400 billion.