The Central Asia–China gas pipeline (known also as Turkmenistan–China gas pipeline) is a natural gas pipeline from Central Asia to Xinjiang in the People’s Republic of China.
The initial proposal for Central Asia–China gas pipeline was presented as the Kazakhstan–China gas pipeline, which was to follow along the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline. In June 2003, during China’s President Hu Jintao’s visit to Kazakhstan, agreements to expedite the appraisal of the project were signed. Following these agreements, KazMunayGas and PetroChina started a feasibility study of the pipeline project. At the same time China continued negotiations with other Central Asian countries.
On 3 April 2006, China and Turkmenistan signed a framework agreement on the pipeline construction and long-term gas supply. In June 2007, during his visit to China, Turkmeni President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow signed an accord to speed up implementation of the Turkmeni-Chinese gas pipeline project. On 30 April 2007, Uzbekistan and China signed an agreement on the construction and exploitation of the pipeline’s Uzbekistan section. In July 2007, it was formally announced that Turkmenistan will join original Kazakhstan-China pipeline project. On 8 November 2007, Kazakhstan’s oil company KazMunayGas signed an agreement with the China National Petroleum Corporation on principles of future work on the pipeline.
On 30 August 2007, the construction of the 188 kilometres (117 mi) long Turkmen section of the pipeline begun. This section was built by Stroytransgaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom. Main contractors were China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau, China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation, and Zeromax. Construction of the Uzbek section started on 30 June 2008. It was built by Asia Trans Gas, a joint venture of Uzbekneftegas and CNPC. Construction works of the Kazakh section started on 9 July 2008 and the first stage was finished in July 2009. It was built by Asian Gas Pipeline company, a joint venture of CNPC and KazMunayGas. The main contractors of this section were KazStroyService and China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corporation. The first of two parallel lines were completed early November 2009.
The second line was completed by the end of 2010. The third line designed to deliver 25 Bcm/a of natural gas from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China began construction in 2012. It is estimated that gas supply will commence from January 2014, and reach the designed throughput in December 2015, enhancing the total transmission capacity of the Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline to 55 Bcm/a.
The Kazakh section of the pipeline was inaugurated on 12 December 2009 during China’s president Hu Jintao’s visit to Kazakhstan. The whole pipeline was inaugurated on 14 December 2009 in a ceremony in Saman-Depe during Hu Jintao’s visit to Turkmenistan with the leaders of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
On 13 June 2010 China and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on branch line from Western Kazakhstan.
Kakageldy Abdullayev, chairman of Turkmen national gas company TurkmenGas, told a gas congress in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat on Wednesday (May 22, 2013) the second stage of development at Galkynysh would allow eventually to boost annual gas export to China by 25 bcm to 65 bcm per year.
Li Xiaoning, deputy director general at China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation, told the Ashgabat gas congress this volume would be achieved in 2020. Since the start-up of the China-bound pipeline in December 2009, Turkmen gas exports to China have totalled almost 50 bcm. Turkmen data show 2012 gas exports to China stood at 20 bcm.
According to CNPC, the inflow of Turkmen gas will significantly help China in meeting its energy demands and would stabilize the country’s overall consumption structure. When in use, the pipeline’s deliveries will boost the natural gas proportion of energy consumption of China by an estimated 2%, which will reduce the overall smoke, dust and carbon dioxide emissions. This amounts to an estimated 50% of China’s total 2007 natural gas production. As far as Turkmenistan goes, the project will help the country diversify its energy exports by delivering gas eastward as opposed to its current deliveries to Russia and Iran. Until the inauguration of the pipeline, nearly 70% of Turkmenistan’s gas exports transited through Russian pipelines. Central Asia–China gas pipeline is the first pipeline to bring Central Asian natural gas to China and highlights China’s quest for Central Asian energy exports. While Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are also considering selling their gas to China, Chinese government already made new moves to penetrate deeper into Central Asian energy sector by lending $3 billion to Turkmenistan to develop the South Iolotan field in 2009 and $10 billion to Kazakhstan to pay for future oil supplies.
The whole pipeline is about 1,833 kilometres (1,139 mi) long, of which 188 kilometres (117 mi) in Turkmenistan and 530 kilometres (330 mi) in Uzbekistan. The diameter of the pipeline is 1,067 millimetres (42.0 in). Line A was completed in 2009. Line B increased capacity up to 40 billion cubic meter of natural gas per year and was completed in 2010. 30 billion cubic meter would be supplied from Turkmenistan and 10 billion cubic meter from Kazakhstan. The pipeline is expected to cost US$7.3 billion. The pipeline project also includes the purification plant at Samand-Depe to remove high sulfur content of natural gas.
The pipeline starts in Saman-Depe carrying natural gas from the Bagtyyarlyk gas fields on the right bank of Amu Darya in Turkmenistan. It is mainly supplied from Iolotan and Sag Kenar fields. The pipeline enters Uzbekistan in Olot and runs across Uzbekistan to southern Kazakhstan parallel to the existing Bukhara–Tashkent–Bishkek–Almaty pipeline. The pipeline crosses the Kazakhstan–China border at Khorgos, where it is connected to the second West–East Gas Pipeline.
In Shymkent, the pipeline will be linked with the 1,400-kilometre (870 mi) branch line from Beyneu in western Kazakhstan. It will supply natural gas from the Karachaganak, Tengiz and Kashagan gas fields. The branch line will have a capacity of 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. It will be commissioned in 2014.