BEIJING, March 31 (Reuters) - China oil giant PetroChina Co Ltd (601857.SS) (0857.HK) has started to operate a major pipeline to help transport fuel from the northwest to the energy-thirsty central regions, a company-run newspaper said on Tuesday.
The 1,188-kilometre-long pipeline running from Lanzhou in northwestern Gansu province to Zhengzhou in central China's Henan province started pumping and delivering oil on Monday, reported China Petroleum Daily, a paper owned by parent firm CNPC.
"The smooth launching and operation of the Lanzhou-Zhengzhou pipeline marks a success of one phase of the nation's biggest refined oil pipeline system construction," the paper said.
The Lanzhou-Zhengzhou segment is part of the Lanzhou-Zhengzhou-Changsha pipeline running 2,070 kilometres from northwest Gansu and Shannxi to central Henan, Hubei and Hunan. It has an annual transportation capacity of 15 million tonnes.
China approved the project in 2007 in a move to improve PetroChina's efficiency in transporting oil products from northwestern to central regions, which rely heavily on supply from other areas.
PetroChina currently uses trains to distribute fuel due to the lack of a pipeline.
The west-central line will eventually be connected with a line running from northeast Jinzhou in Liangning province to central Zhengzhou, forming the country's biggest oil products pipeline network, according to the paper.
It also said that the Zhengzhou-Changsha segment would be ready for operation by the end of June.
(Reporting by Eadie Chen, Editing by Jacqueline Wong) (email@example.com; +8610 6627 1268; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))