Environmental Protection in the West-East Gas Pipeline Project

Since the project became fully operational in 2005, it has benefited over 200 million people. It plays an important role in adjusting our energy structure, coping with energy shortages in Central and Eastern China, especially in the Yangtze River Delta, promoting economic development, improving air quality, raising residents' living standards and promoting the saving of resources and measures to protect the environment.

The project spans the four valleys of the Yellow River, Huaihe River, Yangtze River and Taihu Lake. It crosses the terrain, deserts, arid and semi-arid regions of the Gobi Desert, as well as the loess plateaus, grasslands, woodlands and mountainous areas of Shanxi and Henan provinces. It also traverses farmland in the Yellow River-Huaihe Plain and the Yangtze-Huaihe Plain, as well as a network of rivers. There are 143 micro-ecological areas, four national parks, a national ecological reserve, four environmentally sensitive areas and many places of historic importance along the trunk line of nearly 4,000 kilometers. The project was complicated by various types of water loss and erosion in and along the pipeline.

To protect the environment and prevent water loss and soil erosion in these adverse and environmentally sensitive sections, gravel covering was applied to the Gobi Desert areas, while large-scale artificial meadows were transplanted in the grasslands affected by wind and sandstorms. In addition, comprehensive engineering and biological measures were combined to improve the conditions of the loess plateaus, as well as hilly and mountainous areas. On the plains, farmlands were returned to production and riverbanks were consolidated.

During the construction of the pipeline, a detour strategy was adopted to avoid damaging natural reserves and places of historic significance, as well as other sensitive areas. According to the original plan, the pipeline had to cut across the buffer zone of the Alkin Wild Camel Nature Reserve for about 100 kilometers. Following our environmental impact studies, we decided to shift the pipeline away from the buffer zone, which added nearly RMB 200 million yuan to the budget. This was in order to protect rare wild animals and to minimize the negative impact on the environment.

Our pipeline crosses ancient sections of the Great Wall 12 times. Ceiling-crossing technologies ensured these historic relics were undamaged.

After the completion of the project, a national examination indicated that all environmental protection measures had been well implemented during the construction and commissioning period of the pipeline. All pollutant discharges, as well as water and soil conservation measures, have satisfied both local and national standards.

As a result, the West-East Gas Pipeline Project was awarded the title of "National Environmentally Friendly Project".