(Yicai Global) May 7 -- A unit of the world’s third-largest oil company, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), has provided Lhasa, capital of western Tibet Autonomous Region with 102 million cubic meters of natural gas to date amid rising gas demand, which has prompted an expansion of its gas plant network.
Lhasa’s residents have increasingly turned to natural gas for heating in recent years so existing supplies can no longer meet demand, China News Service reported Zhang Guangyan, the head of a plant in the city, as saying, adding that help is on its way following the approval of gas plant expansion project, which once completed, will increase storage capacity substantially.
CNPC’s PetroChina Qinghai Oilfield Co. has been supplying liquified natural gas (LNG) to Lhasa following a CNY320-million (USD49.3-million) investment made in 2011, as part of efforts to replace more-polluting power sources, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the plateau region often called the "Roof of the World."
Clean natural gas will reach other parts of Tibet, such as Shannan, Nagqu, Xigaze, Nyingchi, and Changdu in the next few years, a source at PetroChina Qinghai Oilfield disclosed.
Lhasa's daily gas consumption was close to 200,000 cbm last winter and this spring, representing a record high, said Wang Wei, a manager at PetroChina Qinghai Oilfield. Natural gas sales have increased every year, and the sales volume last year was five times that of the first three years of operations combined.
The urban area of Lhasa uses natural gas from Golmud plant in Qinghai Oilfield, which is thousands of miles away. Tanker trucks transport about 100 tons of natural gas across the pernicious zones between northwestern China's Hoh Xil and Tanggula Mountains, which are more than 5,000 meters above sea level, added Zhang.
Qinghai Oilfield, perched at the highest altitude in the world, is located in the Qaidam Basin in the northwestern part of Qinghai Province. It is an important oil production and gas supply base for Qinghai, Tibet, and Gansu provinces, with an average elevation of 3,000 meters.
Tibet's regional government reached a deal with PetroChina in 2009 to protect the rural environment with the use of more green power sources. Before that, the citizens of Lhasa used LPG, firewood, coal, cow dung, electricity and other energy sources to keep warm in the wintertime. LPG creates four times as much waste as LNG, according to China Daily.
Editors: Emmi Laine, William Clegg