China-Myanmar gas pipeline becomes operational

Oct 21, 2013 China has begun receiving gas from Myanmar as the new gas pipeline connecting the two countries became operational on Sunday. The pipeline is part of an ambitious $2.5 billion oil and gas pipeline project between the two countries Making the announcement, the China National Petroleum Corporation ( CNPC) said the gas pipeline will transport 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. It will reduce the country’s dependence on coal and reduce its consumption by 30.72 million tons a year. This project is part of a larger Chinese program to lay a road connecting the country’s Yunnan province to the Indian border through Myanmar although New Delhi has not yet accepted the road connectivity plan. China also plans to transport crude oil across the Myanmar border and complete an irrigation project in Myanmar which Naypyitaw has stalled. Sources said that in terms of business competition, the project signals a major headway for China which is increasing winning major contracts in Myanmar at the expense of companies from India and other countries. But China is also facing business resistance from western countries which have moved in since the country began liberalizing the markets last year. Work on the pipeline was affected last year as armed clashes broke out between the Myanmar’s military and the Kachin Independence Organization in Kachin state. China also witnessed a major inflow of refugees, who crossed the turbulent border from Myanmar. The major part of the 2,520 km long trunk line runs through China of which 793 km are in Myanmar. Construction on the project began in 2010. The Chinese official media quoted Wu Hong, general manager of the CNPC’s pipeline construction department who said that the trunk line will be linked with internal gas network to transfer the gas received at the border in northwest China to the remote east coast which is a major industrial hub.