China plans to build the country's first cross-province coalbed methane (CBM) pipeline this year, according to industry sources.
The pipeline will start from Duanshi County in North China's Shanxi Province and end in Bo'ai County, in Central China's Henan Province, passing through Qinshui basin in Shanxi, Sun Maoyuan, general manager of China United Coalbed Methane Co Ltd (CUCBM), told China Daily.
The project is awaiting approval from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planning body. Sun expects to get the go-ahead later this year.
"The Duanshi-Bo'ai line will stretch 120km, with a capacity of 1 billion cubic meters. Total investment in the project will be 400 to 500 million yuan," said Sun.
Other companies and local governments will work with CUCBM, the nation's largest CBM firm, to construct the pipeline, said Sun, but he didn't name the companies.
"As China's first cross-province CBM pipeline, the Duanshi-Bo'ai project will help Shanxi Province, an important CBM production base, to take advantage of its rich gas resources," said Huang Shengchu, president of the China Coal Information Institute.
The pipeline will also ease the natural gas supply shortage in Henan Province, he said. Analysts said earlier that the province has a natural gas shortage of 1 billion cubic meters a year.
Located in the south of Shanxi Province, Qinshui basin has become an important CBM production base for CUCBM. The company, along with the nation's largest oil firm PetroChina, has built production facilities in the basin with a capacity of 1 billion cubic meters per year, Sun told China Daily.
"The CBM pipeline will provide our company with a bigger market for gas production in Shanxi. We are also planning other pipelines in Shanxi Province," he said.
He said the other pipeline routes are still under consideration.
China will build a total of 10 CBM pipelines in the nation by the end of 2010, according to the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) for the nation's CBM industry.
The pipelines will have a total length of 1,441km and capacity of 6.53 billion cubic meters, with an investment of 3.09 billion yuan, according to the plan.
CBM has components similar to natural gas. China boasts 37 trillion cubic meters of CBM reserves – the third largest in the world, after Russia and Canada.
The nation's CBM sector has seen fast development since 2004. This year it will see double-digit growth to produce 3 billion cubic meters of CBM, said Sun.