The China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline has transported a total of 200 billion cubic meters of natural gas by Wednesday since it started operation in December 2009, meeting demand in the world's second-largest liquefied natural gas importer, according to China National Petroleum Corp, the country's largest oil and gas supplier and producer.
The pipeline, running through China, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with an annual gas transportation capacity exceeding 55 billion cu m, is the first pipeline importing natural gas from abroad by land, said Sino-Pipeline International Company Ltd, a subsidiary under CNPC and the operator of the pipeline.
The 200 billion cu m of natural gas is equivalent to the total annual natural gas consumption of China or 11 years of natural gas supply for Beijing, it said.
Qu Guangxue, a CNPC spokesman, said the gas supply from Central Asian countries has played a significant role in ensuring natural gas supplies during the heating season in northern China, when demand rises to nearly three times that of non-heating seasons.
China has faced a natural gas supply crunch in recent winters as the government is trying to replace coal with natural gas to fight pollution.
This winter sees 28 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas steering clear of coal and using only natural gas, electricity or renewable energy for heating, giving demand for the clean fuel another surge this year, with CNPC announcing that sales of the clean energy experienced year-on-year growth of more than 20 percent.
Qu said that the company expects natural gas demand to reach 81.3 billion cu m this year for the company, up by 11.7 percent year-on-year.
He said the company, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the natural gas supplied in China, plans to continue negotiating with Central Asian nations for additional stocks to ensure adequate domestic natural gas supplies.
Analysts said natural gas has become China's fastest-growing fuel in recent years.
The China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline plays a significant role in ensuring China's surging natural gas demand while diversifying its sources of natural gas imports, said Li Li, an energy research director at ICIS China.