Xinjiang homes benefit from natural gas project

Technicians inspect gas facilities in Horgos, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

A new natural gas network in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is making life for residents like Hazret Mamut much more convenient.

"I used to go to the gas station to change the fuel tank when it was empty, which used to take 10 minutes of riding an electric scooter," Hazret recalled. But now, he only needs to turn the knob of the stove and the flame is lit.

"Using natural gas costs less than 20 yuan ($2.90) every month for cooking," Hazret added.

Such convenience in Hazret's life is due to a natural gas project conducted by PetroChina, one of China's major oil companies.

Since the natural gas pipeline was put into operation in May in Wushi county in Aksu prefecture, Hazret's home, a natural gas network covering all prefectures in southern Xinjiang has been established.

Remote cities and counties in south Xinjiang have long suffered from poverty, an underdeveloped economy, extreme climate and a fragile environment. Urban and rural residents in this area mainly used firewood and coal as fuel, which was not only costly but had a negative impact on the environment.

To improve living standards, the natural gas project was launched in 2010 and has been operating since 2013. So far, more than 3,000 kilometers of pipes have been installed, providing natural gas to 42 counties and cities and benefiting over 4 million people in south Xinjiang.

"It saved me a lot of money," said Hawanisahan Jelili, who lives in Moyu county in Hotan prefecture. She said her family would spend nearly 3,500 yuan for heating by burning coal in winter, but that was reduced to 2,000 yuan after natural gas pipes were built in the county in 2016.

Almost 12 years ago, the city of Hotan began supplying natural gas. Since then, PetroChina's project has gradually stretched its network to more rural areas.

The project has supplied more than 33.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the southern areas of Xinjiang, improving people's lives and injecting vitality into the local economy and society.