West-east gas pipeline nears completion
The pipeline project to transfer natural gas from the Tarim Basin in the nation's west across to eastern provinces is nearing completion.
The well-known strategic project for the development of western China is set to begin filling the pipeline with gas on September 1.
The pipeline, starting from Lunnan Oilfield in Tarim Basin of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, spans eight provinces and autonomous regions and travels to Shanghai, the commercial hub in East China.
The total length of the line is around 4,200 kilometres.
"A ceremony will be held to celebrate the historic moment on September 1 when natural gas will flow into the line to replace the nitrogen now in the pipes," said Zhang Yuwen, vice-director for the project's Xinjiang Management Division of Pipeline Company under PetroChina Co Ltd.
The process will last around five days until September 6, when the line will begin formally supplying natural gas for customers in eastern provinces, he said.
Sun Longde, president of Tarim Oilfield Company affiliated with PetroChina Co Ltd the supplier of natural gas also confirmed that his company has the capacity to provide the fuel.
"Everything has gone well," he said.
The project is a result of the discovery of Kela2 gasfield in Tarim Basin in 1998, in which the proven gas reserve totals 284 billion cubic metres.
It is a large and integrated gasfield with high pressure, abundance and top production value.
Following two years of research and evaluation, the State Council approved the project, which began construction in July 2002.
As the starting point and the main gas sources of the project, Tarim Basin has gas reserves of 658 billion cubic metres with a predicted reserve of 1,380 billion cubic metres.
By the end of 2003, a total of 14 gasfields had been found in the basin and the first batch of them to supply natural gas includes the Yaha, Kela2, Sangnan, Jilake and Ji'nan4 gas fields.
The large reserve ensures the Tarim Basin can transmit 18 billion cubic metres of natural gas each year to the pipeline project with a stable gas supply of more than 30 years.
Because of severe shortages of power in previous months, some gas-fuelled power plants in eastern and coastal provinces have had a voracious demand for natural gas, said an unnamed engineer with the company.
"The large market demand has made us speed up the construction of the project with around four months of time to fulfill the task," he said.
According to an overall plan for the company, natural gas will be transmitted to Shanghai by January 2005.