Gazprom and Bank of China have signed a five-year €2bn loan facility agreement.

According to a Gazprom statement, this is the largest deal in terms of the amount of financing attracted directly from one financial institution, and the first bilateral loan facility agreement with a Chinese bank. The purpose of the facility has not been disclosed, but as export gas prices are to fall to a 10-year low, there is no doubt the financing is badly needed.

It signals the increasing importance that Chinese lenders have for sanctions-hit Russian companies. According to Russian media, Gazprom already signed a €1.5bn loan in August with China’s five biggest lenders.

Gazprom and China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) have also agreed to the construction of two pipelines delivering gas from Siberia to China, at an undisclosed pricing.