China and Tajikistan plan to start construction on the so-called D line on the Central Asia-China gas pipeline network this year, state-owned China National Petroleum Corp said Monday.
This comes after both countries signed a deal to establish a joint venture to build the line.
"Construction of the D line within Tajikistan will start this year, in accordance with the overall work plan," CNPC said.
Line D is the fourth in the pipeline network and will run through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, to deliver gas from Turkmenistan to China. The current pipeline network comprising lines A, B and C passes through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before reaching China's western Xinjiang province.
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In November 2011, Ashgabat agreed to send an additional 25 billion cubic meters/year of gas to China, bringing total volumes to 65 billion cu m/year by 2020. Some of the additional gas supplies would come from the supergiant Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan, which both sides agreed to jointly develop last year.
The latest agreement with Tajikistan was signed in Dushanbe between Chinese ambassador to Tajikistan Fan Xianrong and Tajikistan's First Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Sulton Rahimov last Tuesday, CNPC said.
The pre-feasibility study for the D line was approved by China's National Development and Reform Commission in June, the company said.
A broad agreement for the project was then signed with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan during President Xi Jinping's visit to Central Asia in September.
CNPC and state-owned Turkmengaz signed an initial sales and purchase agreement in July 2007 for China to import 30 billion cu m/year of Turkmen gas for 30 years. In 2008, the two companies agreed to boost the volume to 40 billion cu m/year by 2015.
Turkmenistan began delivering gas to China in late 2009.
The 25 billion cu m/year C line is expected to be operational in October and will run parallel to the existing A and B lines, which have total capacity of 30 billion cu m/year.
By the end of China's 13th Five Year Plan in 2020, all four lines in the network will be able to supply China with 80 billion cu m/year of gas, accounting for at least 40% of China's total imported gas supplies, CNPC said.
--Song Yen Ling, email@example.com
--Edited by Meghan Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org