(Peoples daily Online) - China is making a 'super' network in order to get its badly needed energy from natural gas. As the fastest growing energy in consumption this century, natural gas is likely to be of the same importance as oil, according to a report from the Beijing Morning Post.
During a Forum on the Development of China's Oil and Natural Gas Pipelines held last week, a dozen energy experts gave a detailed description of China's natural gas supply network in the next 20 years, reports Trend.
The domestic "artery" will be formed quickly. Since the late 1990s, natural gas routes, including those between Shaanxi and Beijing and western China's Xinjiang and eastern China, have been built and put into operation. China is now planning to build several natural gas pipelines from Russia and Kazakhstan to form a mainframe of pipelines.
China's domestic natural gas pipeline is currently 24 thousand kilometers long but by the end of 2010, it will have been extended to 36 thousand kilometers. Shen Jiahua, an oil storage expert, predicts that between 2021 and 2030, China's natural gas pipeline development will reach a mature period.
Offshore oil and natural gas passage
It is predicted that China will need an extra 50 to 90 billion cubic meters of natural gas by 2020.
"To meet the demand, China needs to import LNG РЃC liquid natural gas РЃC through offshore passages from overseas, while building pipelines through the land," said Tang Yali, Vice Manager of China's Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Corporation.
Tang also says it is imperative for China to build an offshore import route to receive LNG from Australia and other regions. So far 11 coastal provinces and municipalities plan to build infrastructure to import LNG, which requires approval from the central government.
Natural gas from Russia and central Asia
Meanwhile, natural gas from Russia can be imported through west China's Xinjiang Uygor Autonomous Region.
China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on Russia's supply of natural gas to China in March. It is expected that from 2011, China will import 60-80 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia every year.
The route will most likely be from western Siberia via Altay to Xinjiang and a pipeline to China will be built from the eastern part of Russia.
Later Russia and China decided that they will build a 3000 kilometer long pipeline within five years with the capacity to transport 30 to 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.
In addition to importing from Russia, China will build pipelines with central Asian countries including Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is contracted to supply 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China every year starting from 2009.
However, Turkmenistan does not share a border with China so the pipeline will have to go through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Fortunately, these two countries also intend to export natural gas to China. Therefore, once the pipeline is built, the three countries can export natural gas to China simultaneously.