China is a country facing huge environmental challenges as it pursues economic growth.
One of its aims is to reduce its dependence on coal and switch to alternative energy sources like gas.
So at an energy conference in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, China has been unveiling plans to pour billions into Turkmenistan’s energy sector just so it can boost its own gas supplies.
Since December 2009, the total amount of gas from Central Asian countries “mainly from Turkmenistan, delivered to China has reached 100bn cubic metres,” says Deng Minmin, general manager of China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
But Beijing is planning to increase its gas imports from this region further, and by 2020 China plans to be importing 65bn cubic metres of gas from Turkmenistan every year.
In order to deliver such large volumes it is expanding the existing pipeline network, and by 2016 the fourth branch of the China-Central Asia pipeline will be completed – raising the export capacity level to 85bn cubic metres a year.