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World's highest gas station keeps oil flowing to district in Tibet

By Zheng Xin | | Updated: 2021-04-16 17:35
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A driver has his truck fueled at a CNPC gas station in the Tsonyi special district in Nyima county of Tibet autonomous region. [Photo provided to]

China National Petroleum Corp, one of the country's three major oil and gas companies, has been investing more than 400,000 yuan ($61,000) each year to its gas station located in the Tsonyi special district in Nyima county of Tibet autonomous region since its operation in 2002, to ensure sufficient oil supply to the region. 

It has provided 27,800 tons of oil products to local residents through the gas station, which is located at the highest altitude in the world, to ensure its economic construction and social development, said the company.

With an altitude of more than 5,000 meters and the oxygen content only one-third that of the plain region, the Tsonyi special district sees extreme weather with its lowest temperature reaching 40 degrees centigrade below zero. Being the only gas station in the county, it provides oil supplies for production and living for its 14,000 herdsman, said CNPC.

The local government has been carrying out environmental relocation in high altitude areas in recent years, with the first batch of herdsmen from the Tsonyi special district already moving to the south by the end of 2019 where living environment is more fit for habitation. However, there are still some 10,000 local residents staying, and CNPC said it would keep investing in the gas station to ensure oil supply.

Compared with the gas stations located in the plain region, the Tsonyi gas station sees greater waste of oil tanks due to the extreme weather, and the long distance of transportation also makes cost much higher compared with Lhasa, the Tibet autonomous region's capital.

However, it has always been adopting the oil price in Lhasa, as the purpose of the gas station has not been making money but rather serving the people, said Wu Chenhong, managing director of CNPC Tibet's Nyima subsidiary.

Before the station was built, local herdsmen had to spend two days traveling to nearby counties to have their vehicles pumped. Things changed when CNPC built the station in 2002 and assigned five employees to serve local herdsman, making local lives much easier.

The 3,000-square-meter gas station provides more than just oil products. It has also helped local residents with vehicle repair, medicine delivery and even the births of children, said the company.

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