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New oil reserve base to be built in southwest China
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China will build a new strategic petroleum reserve in Wanzhou, a district in Chongqing Municipality in the southwest, once final approval is obtained from the central government.

Wanzhou District Government and the Sichuan Bureau of Material Reserve signed an investment agreement last Friday over launching a joint venture for building a new oil reserve base in Wanzhou, about 300 km away from Chongqing.

Liu Shuxin, chief of Sichuan Bureau of Material Reserve, said the preparatory work for the proposed oil reserve base had gone smoothly, and Wanzhou had been selected for its unique geographic position and advantages for transport.

"As an important town on the mainstream of the Yangtze, Wanzhou is accessible by means of waterway, railways, highways and air, so oil distribution can be guaranteed if emergencies occur," said Liu.

In accordance with the construction plan, Wanzhou oil reserve base will be designed as a facility that will guarantee oil supply in case of emergencies, so in ordinary time, no big transactions will be conducted here.

Yuan Changmo, deputy chief of Sichuan Bureau of Material Reserve, declined to provide more details about the project, saying the proposed venture will have to get approval from the National Development and Reform Commission before it can be materialized.

Upon completion, Wanzhou oil reserve base will be the first of the kind in the interior areas of the Chinese mainland and is of strategic value that can not be neglected for safeguarding internal oil safety, according to Yuan.

China started a state strategic oil reserve base program in 2004 as a way to offset oil supply risks and reduce the impact of fluctuating energy prices on the international market on China's internal market of processed oils.

The state strategic oil reserve base program will be completed in three phases.  For the first phase, the country has built or been constructing  four reserve bases in Zhenhai, Zhoushan, Dalian and Huangdao, all on its coast.

Situated along the Three Gorges Reservoir, Wanzhou, some 321 upstream Yichang, the nearest city to the Three Gorges Project, the world's largest water control facility, is one of ten major ports on the mainstream of the Yangtze River. It has a history of 1,900 years and a population of 1.68 million.

(Xinhua News Agency, November 30, 2007)

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