Beijing gets US$250 mln loan for coal-to-gas conversion

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The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has given a US$250 million loan for a natural gas project in Beijing to support the ongoing process of coal-to-gas conversion and to improve air quality in the Chinese capital. The project is the AIIB's first investment in China since its launch two years ago.

The project will connect 216,750 households in about 510 rural villages to the natural gas distribution network, which will help to reduce Beijing's coal use by 650,000 metric tons, cut carbon dioxide emission by 595,700 tons, and reduce particulate matter emission by 3,700 tons every year.

The project will be carried out by the Beijing Gas Group, the first corporate loan of the AIIB. The company will help build the natural gas distribution networks, low-pressure gas pipelines and household connections in remote areas. The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

"China's commitment to reducing its reliance on coal will change lives and improve the environment, and that is why we are investing in a project aligned with their ambitious plan," Jin Liqun, president of the AIIB, said. "With our unwavering commitment to helping members meet their environmental and development goals, especially their commitments under the Paris Agreement, it is only fitting that our first investment in China will introduce sustainable infrastructure that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help vitalize one of the most important economic hubs in Asia."

This year is the last for Beijing's five-year clean air action plan. In 2017, the city has set a goal to complete 338 tasks to combat air pollution, including coal-to-gas conversion in rural areas. A 3700-kilometer pipeline and about 400 gas hubs will be established through an investment of 8.5 billion yuan (US$128 million).

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