Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping observed the launching ceremony via a four-way video call, as both leaders monitored their country's gas stations as the pipeline was put into operation.
Named the "Power of Siberia", the pipeline runs more than 8,100 kilometers (5,000 miles) across the two countries, according to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua, and will deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually by 2024.
Hailing the five-year toil of construction teams from both countries on the project under extreme weather and the completion on schedule, Putin said Russian Federation will provide 1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas to China in the next 30 years.
Called the "Power of Siberia", the cross-border gas pipeline, according to the official news agency, Xinhua, is over 8,000 km long with a 3,000-km section in Russian Federation and a 5,111-km stretch in China.
Xi called on both countries to redouble their efforts to initiate more key projects like the east-route natural gas pipeline, to boost both countries' development and better benefit both peoples. The country's gas exports all head to the U.S., McNiven said, because while China is an appealing market that it would like to target, Canada does not even have an LNG export terminal that would allow it to become a global exporter.
Through its agreement with China, Russia is very clearly trying to take more of the global liquefied natural gas market share, said Jordan McNiven, analyst with Tudor, Pickering Holt & Co.
The pipeline enables Russian Federation to tap into China's vast, expanding market for gas as part of a 30-year, $400 billion gas supply contract that promises to soften the impact of Western sanctions on Russian Federation over its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
"This year the United States and some other Western countries have increased their interference in the internal affairs of China and Russian Federation, threatened the sovereign security of the two countries, and impeded their economic and social development", he said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. It crosses into Heilongjiang Province near the North Korea border.
The pipeline comes after years of tough negotiations and work in hard conditions, considering that the Power of Siberia pipeline runs through frigid, swampy, mountainous, and seismically active regions of Russian Federation.
Putin hailed the pipeline, highlighting that this year marks 70 years of Russia-China relations, adding that it "brings us closer to the goal we set with President of China Xi Jinping to increase bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2024".
Xi said the pipeline was a milestone in energy cooperation that underscored the deep integration between the two countries.
Construction began in June 2015, and the pipeline is expected to be completed in 2020.
The over 4,000 km gas pipeline has an annual capacity of over 61 billion cubic metres and passes through wetlands, mountainous terrains, seismically active zones, areas of permafrost and rocky ground.