From that date, the activities of Chinese oil companies abroad became very visible. At a relatively rapid pace, they purchased small to medium-scale oil fields in Canada and Peru and offered projects in India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Venezuela. In 1995, China`s main oil company, CNPC, signed an agreement with Japan`s Marubeni Corporation for downstream joint ventures in third countries. The agreement was signed by Igor Setchin, the head of Rosneft, and the head of the CNPC, Zhou Jiping, in the presence of Putin and a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. The first deal was reached during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow in March, his first overseas visit after Hu Jintao took control as the country`s leader. Although this Chinese commitment left considerable loopholes, especially with regard to the distinction between the «new» and the «old», it was an important step towards meeting the United States. In return, the United States removed legal obstacles to the takeover of Sino-U.S. Nuclear trade under the U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. This agreement has indeed paved the way for American companies to engage in the Chinese nuclear industry. In addition to a large number of other energy agreements signed in St. Petersburg, CNPC and Russian independent gas producer Novatek have signed a contract to send Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China. . .