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Longest Oil Pipeline Begins Trial Run
An oil pipeline linking Lanzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing cities -- the longest of its kind in China -- has gone into trial operation, PetroChina Co., Ltd. announced Sunday in Chengdu.

Starting from Lanzhou, capital of northwest Gansu Province, the 1,250-km pipeline traverses Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces to terminate at Chongqing Municipality, southwest China. It is also the largest in diameter and the highest in pressure in the country, with three different diameters of 508 mm, 457 mm and 323.9 mm.

Involving a 4 billion yuan (some US$500 million) investment, the pipeline is one of China's key projects and is also listed as one of the 12 vital projects for developing western China, said Shi Xingquan, vice chairman of PetroChina.

Shi said operation of the pipeline will help further develop petroleum resources in northwest China and make full use of the existing refining capability there. In addition, the tight oil supply in the southwest, where there is almost no refinery, will be alleviated.

Operation of the pipeline will also strongly promote the economic development of western China and raise the living standards of the people living along the pipeline, Shi noted.

For PetroChina, the largest oil company in China, the pipeline will also be beneficial to better combine production, transportation and sales of its subsidiaries, and to sharpen its competitive edge in southwest China, especially Sichuan and Chongqing, as well as to raise its oil product market shares.

The pipeline also features a high tech component, according to Dong Shenghou, who is in charge of the pipeline project for PetroChina.

Dong said PetroChina adopted the techniques of tight-line, batch transportation and centralized sub-transportation for the pipeline. The company also introduced technology to distinguish oil product interfaces via supersonic waves -- the first of its kind in China -- which enables the transportation of different fuels within the same pipeline.

Difficult natural conditions and complicated terrain make the pipeline an unprecedented example in the history of China's pipeline construction, Dong said. In order to ensure the construction quality and operation safety, PetroChina has adopted a supervision system in accordance with international standards.

At present, the annual oil consumption in Sichuan and Chongqing totals about 4.4 million tons, almost all of which is transported from other areas of China via railways and ships. After the pipeline begins operation, the transportation cost from Lanzhou to Chengdu will be 33.6 yuan per ton on average lower than by railway.

The transport volume of the pipeline is expected to reach 3.5 million tons in 2003, saving about 100 million yuan in transportation costs. With the increasing demand for oil in southwest China, PetroChina hopes to raise the transport volume to about 6 million tons in the future.

In addition, PetroChina is planning to build another oil pipeline to transport oil produced by its refineries from Xinjiang to Lanzhou, which will be connected to the "Lanzhou-Chengdu-Chongqing" pipeline.

(People’s Daily November 11, 2002)

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