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Region Launches Energy Program

Inner Mongolia is working on a number of pilot energy projects in an effort to take greater advantage of locally produced natural resources, the region's Party secretary said on Friday.

"Boasting strategic importance and adopting global technologies, the coal-to-liquid project of Shenhua will come on stream and become profitable this year," Party Secretary Chu Bo told reporters.

"We are also working on an indirect coal-to-liquid project, with a designed capacity of 180,000 tons," he said.

Subject to official approval, the China National Coal Group Corp, Sinopec and Shenergy Group are planning to develop a coal-based chemical project in the region, which will be the biggest in the world in terms of capacity, Chu said.

The chemicals can be piped to the Circum-Bohai Economic Ring and the Shanghai area.

The Inner Mongolia autonomous region leads China in terms of energy reserves of all kinds, with its resources totaling approximately 650 billion tons of oil equivalent.

Its rich natural resources, such as coal, gas and minerals, fuel the development of the Circum-Bohai Economic Ring and the eastern part of the country, Yang Jing, chairman of the Inner Mongolia regional government, said.

Seven out of every 10 lights in Beijing are powered by electricity transmitted from Inner Mongolia, Chu said.

With its gross domestic product growth rate topping the country for five consecutive years, Inner Mongolia's own energy consumption has soared.

Zhao Yongqi, president of PetroChina's Inner Mongolia sales branch, said on Friday that betwen 2002 and 2007, sales of oil products in the region had almost tripled.

The number of PetroChina gas stations in Inner Mongolia has increased from 800 in 2002 to 1,400 in 2007.

"We have invested 1 billion yuan (US$140 million) in expanding our filling stations. Our business growth proves the robust market demand," Zhao said.

(China Daily March 8, 2008)

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