Construction of a tunnel under the Yangtze River that will form
part of a gas pipeline project running from Sichuan Province to Shanghai was completed
The 1.4-km, 3.08-m diameter tunnel sits 20 m beneath the
riverbed and connects two wells on either side of the river in
Yichang city, Hubei Province, Liu Juzheng, head of the Hubei
section of the pipeline, said.
With a total length of 2,203 km, the pipeline will serve as an
"energy artery" as part of the West-East gas project, Liu said.
The pipeline is expected to channel 12.1 billion cu m of natural
gas a year from the Puguang field in Sichuan to central and eastern
regions of the country, including Chongqing Municipality, the
provinces of Hubei, Anhui, Jiangxi, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and
The tunnel, which took 325 days to complete, is the first of
five to be built under the Yangtze.
Industry experts say the new pipeline, which will cost 62.7
billion yuan (US$8.4 billion) to build, will provide an opportunity
to develop western regions based on their rich natural
Chen Deming, vice-minister of the National Development and
Reform Commission (NDRC), said the pipeline will be completed in
late 2010 and the gas it transports will help reduce carbon dioxide
emissions by tens of millions of tons a year.
Figures from the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) put
Puguang's proven reserves at 356.1 billion cu m. The country has
total proven natural gas reserves of about 2.66 trillion cu m.
The government has been promoting the use of natural gas to
improve energy efficiency and reduce air pollution.
Under an NDRC proposal on natural gas development, the
government plans to increase the natural gas pipeline network to
44,000 km by 2010 to meet demand.
Although China's natural gas output will reach 94 billion cu m
in 2010, up from 58.6 billion in 2006, an additional 16 billion cu
m a year will still have to be imported to meet demand, Sinopec
In Shanghai, demand for natural gas soared from 4 million cu m
in 2003 to 1.9 billion in 2005.
In 2004, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) opened its
West-East gas pipeline, which runs more than 4,000 km and channels
1.2 billion cu m of gas a year to Shanghai from the Tarim Basin in
the country's westernmost region of Xinjiang.
CNPC is to build a second West-East pipeline to carry gas
imported from central Asia to the Pearl and Yangtze river deltas.
Construction will begin next year with the line, which is designed
to carry 30 billion cu m a year, becoming operational in 2010.
(China Daily October 30, 2007)