China's crude oil imports via Alataw Pass, a leading land port on the China-Kazakhstan border, totaled a record 3 million tons last year, 2.3 times the 2005 figure.
The newly opened Sino-Kazak oil pipeline alone piped 1.7 million tons of crude oil into China, surpassing 2005's total oil imports of 1.3 million tons via Alataw Pass, said sources with the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau of northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
An additional 1.3 million tons of crude oil was imported via Alataw Pass by railway, the only means of oil import in the border area before the crossborder pipeline became operational last May.
The 962-km pipeline from Atasu in Kazakhstan to the Alataw Pass was completed in Nov. 2005 at the cost of US$700 million. It was designed to transmit 20 million tons of oil a year, 15 percent of China's total crude oil imports for 2005.
The first phase of the pipeline will transmit 10 million tons of oil a year, a figure that will double when the entire project is completed in 2011.
China's crude oil imports are estimated at around 140 million tons in 2006, up 10.2 percent from the previous year and accounting for 48 percent of the country's total demand for crude oil.
(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2007)