Tuesday, September 23, 2008

China CNPC proposes gas link to Tibet: report

Top Chinese oil and gas firm CNPC is proposing a 1,365-kilometre natural gas pipeline that could pump up to 1.2 billion cubic metres of the fuel from northwestern Qinghai province to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

The 624 million yuan ($A109.48 million) pipeline would start from Tainan gasfield in the Tsaidam Basin in Qinghai and run more than 500 kilometres across the frozen Qinghai-Tibet Plateau before reaching Lhasa, a local newspaper in Qinghai said last week.

The feasibility study of the plan has been submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission for approval while environmental and safety review procedures were proceeding, reported the Xihai Metropolis Daily.

Large-scale construction in the environmentally fragile Tibet region often sparks criticism from environmentalists, and Tibetan activists contend such moves are designed to strengthen Beijing's control and marginalise ethnic Tibetans.

China's military forces built a 1,080-kilometre pipeline in the 1970s that pumps refined oil products from Golmud in Qinghai to Lhasa.

A 1,142-kilometre railway link between the two cities, inaugurated on July 1, 2006, passes through spectacular icy peaks on the Tibetan highlands, and has brought an unprecedented number of tourists to the scarcely populated region.


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