During the ceremony Miller was shown ordering workers to open a valve allowing gas to pass across the border into China.
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.
The pipeline will diversify Russia's gas market while providing China with an alternative steady gas supplier, said Alexei Belogorey, deputy executive director on energy studies at Russia's Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation. Moscow however remains a key gas provider to Europe and is also planning to soon launch two more pipelines that will ramp up supplies to the continent while bypassing Ukraine - TurkStream and Nord Stream 2.
Alexei Miller, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom which championed the project, said almost 10 000 people had worked to build the enormous pipeline. Overall in 2018, China imported about 45 per cent of the natural gas it consumed in 2018.
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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. Russian Federation and China signed the 30-year, $400 billion construction deal in 2014 - Gazprom's biggest ever contract.
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.
"That step brings the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership in the energy sector to a whole new level", Putin said in a statement to news agency TASS.
Xi said the project "serves as a model of... mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries". Its first stop in China is the northeastern city of Heihe in the Heilongjiang Province bordering Russian Federation.
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"This is a genuinely historical event not only for the global energy market but above all for us, for Russia and China", said Putin, who watched the launch via video link from the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. He also hosted Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday, saying that Beijing and Moscow would stand together against interference from Washington and others.
Nord Stream-2, which would double gas volumes to Germany, is expected to go online in mid2020, though it has faced opposition from the United States and countries in central and eastern Europe, particularly Ukraine.
In the coming year, the gas flow in the Power of Siberia pipeline to China will be limited, amounting to 4.6 billion cubic meters in 2020, according to Gazprom, and rising to 10 billion cubic meters in 2021.
Supplies will come from the Chayandiskoye field, with gas reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic meters (Tcm) and production capacity of 25 Bcm/y by 2024.
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