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China: Second west-east gas transmission project begins operations

Friday 1 July 2011

(People’s Daily Online) – The China-Central Asia Natural Gas Pipeline, the major line of China’s second west-east natural gas transmission pipeline, was officially put into operation on June 30.

The pipeline, which has been watched closely at home and abroad, transfers natural gas from the shore of Turkmenistan’s Amu Darya River directly to the Pearl River Delta after passing through China’s 15 province-level regions.

As a major national project of China’s 11th Five-Year Plan, the second west-east gas transmission project is more than 8,700 km long and is the world’s longest natural gas pipeline, with a total investment of 142 billion yuan.

Composed of eight sub-lines and one major line, the second west-east pipeline project starts from Khorgos, Xinjiang in the west and reaches Shanghai in the east and Guangzhou and Hong Kong in the south. It runs across China’s eastern and western ends and passes through 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. It has the capacity to annually transmit 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas with a minimum service life of more than 30 years.

Experts said that the operation of the second west-east pipeline project has provided China’s energy sector with another major artery and will help ease the shortage of natural gas, enhance the efficiency of the national gas pipeline network, and further optimize China’s energy consumption structure.

Liao Yongyuan, vice general manager of PetroChina, said that the completion of the project is of great and far-reaching significance to advance the drive to build a moderately prosperous society, improve China’s energy structure, promote the economic and social development of the regions along the pipeline, and benefit the masses near the pipeline.

“As of May 28, the trunk pipeline had brought more than 10 billion m³ of natural gas from Central Asia to some 100 million people in 18 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. After the completion of its sub-lines next year, the project will benefit a total of 500 million Chinese people,” Liao said.

The full operation of the trunk pipeline will effectively ease natural gas shortages in the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, and the south-central region of the country. It will form a nearly 40,000-km network of trunk gas pipelines together with the first west-east gas pipeline, the Sebei-Xining-Lanzhou gas pipeline and other existing pipelines.

“The second west-east gas pipeline project is also connected to the Tarim, Dzungaria, Tuh, and Changqing gas fields, which are ready to provide 15 billion m³ of emergency gas supply. In addition, it will form a ‘gas network’ with the first West-East gas pipeline, the Shaan–Jing pipeline and other natural gas pipelines to ensure a stable and flexible energy supply,” said Xu Yongfa, president of the CNPC Research Institute of Economics and Technology.

Xu believes that the multi-pronged approach will ensure a stable supply of natural gas from the second west-east gas pipeline project.

Experts predict that once the natural gas pipe network is fully established, the number of China’s cities that could use natural gas will increase to about 270 in 2011. In the middle of 21st century, a great natural gas pipe network that covers 21 provinces will form in China, 95% of China’s prefecture-level cities will be able to consume natural gas, and China’s energy consumption structure will be further optimized.

“China’s proportion of natural gas consumption to one-off energy consumption is still lower than the average of Asia, and currently, China’s demand for natural gas is increasing rapidly. The completion of the second west-east gas pipeline project has profound significance for China to perfect its one-off energy consumption structure and realize the sustainable development of environment and energy,” said Zhou Dadi, Vice President of the China Energy Research Society.

Reporters learned that China’s proportion of natural gas consumption to one-off energy is currently only about 4%, accounting for one-sixth of the world’s average and one-twelfth of the developed European and America countries. Moreover, the global per capita nature gas consumption is 508 m³ per year, over eight times of that of China’s.

In addition, the completion of the project will promote the cities along the pipeline to replace some coal gas and coal consuming plants, kilns and chemical enterprises so not only will the people’s quality of life be raised, but China’s air environment will also be improved.

According to experts, the natural gas imported from Central Asia could replace 7.7 million tons of standard coal, reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide by 130 million tons and reduce the emissions of other hazardous materials, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and industrial dust, by nearly 2.5 million tons every year. It will play a crucial role in improving China’s energy structure and environment quality.

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