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First liquefied natural gas station opens in Tibet

(Xinhua)

13:50, September 16, 2011

LHASA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) station in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region began trial operation this week in Lhasa to provide greener energy for the plateau region, PetroChina said Friday.

The gas station in the western suburbs of Lhasa has a storage capacity of 15,000 cubic meters and can fuel 150 buses and 400 taxis, PetroChina's Tibet subsidiary said in a press release.

It is the first phase of a 110 million yuan (17.23 million U.S. dollars) project that transmits LNG to Tibet from the neighboring Qinghai Province.

The entire project, consisting of a LNG terminal that receives 1,560 cubic meters of gas daily and two gas stations, will be completed in November, the document said.

Tibet's regional government reached the deal with PetroChina in 2009 in an effort to protect the fragile plateau environment, said Qiu Lijian, manager of the Lhasa-based Kunpeng LNG Co.

Firewood still accounts for 70 percent of the fuel in Tibet's rural and herding areas, whereas Lhasa relies largely on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which creates four times as much waste as LNG, Qiu said.

LNG produces 85 percent less exhaust than petroleum and diesel, and will reduce emissions of harmful chemicals such as sulfur, lead and benzene, he said.

It also cuts fuel costs by 30 percent and reduces maintenance costs, as LNG contains less erosive substance, according to a driver who runs one of Lhasa's first nine LNG-fueled taxis.

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