Experts believe that bilateral energy security and cooperation will be deepened through pipeline construction and related education, medical and power generation projects.
ENERGY SECURITY ENHANCED
Some 793 kilometers of the 2,520-km trunk line are in Myanmar, while the rest of the line is in China. It is expected to send 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to Myanmar and southwest China, which will reduce coal consumption by 30.72 million tonnes and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 52.83 million tonnes per year, according to the CNPC.
Construction on the gas pipeline began in 2010 as part of the Myanmar-China Oil and Gas Pipeline project, which also includes construction of a crude oil pipeline designed to transport 22 million tonnes of crude oil every year. The Myanmar section of the gas pipeline started delivering gas to China in late July.
According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, China's consumption of natural gas stood at 143.8 billion cubic meters in 2012, with 27 percent of its gas needs coming from imports.
The gas pipeline will provide 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year to China, equal to almost 7 percent of the country's gas consumption last winter.
"Completion of the pipeline made a breakthrough in China's natural gas imports from the southwest, which will effectively weaken risk and enhance the country's energy security," said Lin Boqiang, Director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University.
BETTER PIPELINE NETWORK
With the project in use, natural gas will be transported to south China's Guangdong Province through the pipeline. Tongliang in the southwest municipality of Chongqing is likely to be the first Chinese city with access to natural gas from Myanmar, the CNPC said.
Cities along the pipeline are speeding up construction of municipal distribution pipelines, and natural gas will be supplied through the pipeline to Dali, Baoshan, Anning, Anshun and Guiyang late this year or in early 2014, marking the first time China's Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau will have access to natural gas.
According to Wu Hong, General Manager of the CNPC's pipeline construction department, the Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline will be connected with China's West-East natural gas transmission project in order to better allocate natural gas and ensure gas supply to downstream users in case of emergency.
The pipeline gas price will be lower than prices of liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas and will likely cut down gas consumption costs, according to the CNPC.
The Myanmar-China Oil and Gas Pipeline project was co-funded by six companies from China, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea and India, which will all benefit from the pipeline's operations.
Liu Yijun, an expert with China University of Petroleum in Beijing, said that the project's cooperation model preserves the stability of pipeline operations.
The pipeline has also paved the way for China to establish energy collaborations with Southeast Asian nations in major energy projects, Liu added.
According to the CNPC, the project provides Myanmar with 2 million tonnes of crude oil and 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, increasing resource supplies to Myanmar's local citizens.
Meanwhile, the project will bring Myanmar direct benefits in the areas of taxation, investment bonuses, transit fees, training and capital for social aid, as well as numerous job opportunities.
The CNPC and its two joint ventures have injected about 20 million U.S. dollars into Myanmar to improve education, medical care and power infrastructure.