BEIJING May 28 Top state energy group China
National Petroleum Company has completed six oil storage tanks
on an island off western Myanmar from which two pipelines will
carry fuel to China, and will soon finish six more, an industry
official said on Tuesday.
The crucial strategic link will allow China to bypass the
Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, and
ship in oil from the Middle East and Africa via the Indian Ocean
and a port on Maday island, off the coast of Myanmar.
The island, just 10 sq km in area with almost no
infrastructure, is the origin point for both a crude oil
pipeline planned to carry 440,000 barrels per day and a natural
gas pipeline intended to ship 12 billion cu. m. annually to
China's land-locked southwestern province of Yunnan.
The oil pipeline is set to begin operation in 2014 and the
gas pipeline was originally due to start up at the end of May,
CNPC has said.
CNPC's Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corp unit has
built six crude oil tanks with capacity of 100,000 cu. m. each
and is expected to complete six more similar tanks in about two
months' time, a Huanqiu official told Reuters.
"The island basically didn't have anything, so we need to
ship in all the building materials using a small port...CNPC is
building a big terminal there," said the official, who declined
to be identified, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The additional tanks would double the facility's storage
capacity to 1.2 million cu. m., or about 7.6 million barrels.
CNPC is building the terminal to moor big oil tankers on the
island as China seeks to cut its dependence on energy supplies
traversing the narrow Malacca Strait between Malaysia and
The project has sparked protests by islanders, who say land
has been confiscated for the deep sea port.
The gas pipeline will bring gas from the Shwe fields off the
coast of Rakhine, a western state bordering Bangladesh, to
China's Yunnan province.
But it could be delayed over security concerns as it runs
across territories controlled by ethnic militia groups, a
Myanmar energy official said this month.
China has long worried about its ties with Myanmar, where
there has been a history of resentment of China among the
Burmese population and fierce public opposition to a $3.6
billion Chinese-built dam at Myitsone. President Thein Sein
shelved that project in 2011, in a move that stunned Beijing.
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom and Chen Aizhu; Editing by