Green Carbon Pool: CO2 Emission Control through Forestation

Climate change is a common concern for the international community. CNPC attaches great importance to the reduction and control of greenhouse gas emissions and has made great efforts to reduce carbon emissions and sequestrate CO2. One of the measures the company has taken in response to global warming is to plant a large number of trees in the Xinjiang oil province.

Xinjiang oil province is located in the center of the Gurbantunggut Desert (the second largest in China) in the Junggar Basin, which has a very dry climate. To improve the poor local environmental conditions, CNPC launched a program in the Karamay Oilfield to plant trees in order to control CO2 emissions. According to the plan, CNPC will create a 26,700-hectare forest for carbon sequestration and emission reduction over the course of 10 years. Along the northwestern boundary of the Junggar Basin, CNPC will create another 66,700-hectare forest following a company+ forest base+ household model to build a green Karamay rim shelterbelt and a green industrial chain to promote local economic development. By then, these forests will become green carbon pools for CO2 sequestration.

Artificial forests need a large amount of water for irrigation, but water in Karamay is almost as expensive as oil. While planting trees, CNPC is also strengthening the construction of infrastructure and supportive facilities, as well as its research and use of water-saving technologies. More than 460 km of water transmission pipelines and 310 km of seepage-proof channels have been built. CNPC has also utilized the 96 m fall between the northwestern Ayikule regulating reservoir and the forest base to irrigate the forest. Thanks to spread of water-saving technologies and moisture accumulation as well as increased precipitation, annual water consumption for forest irrigation has fallen from over 600 m3 to current
400 m3 per mu (0.067 hectares).

In April 2008, the first-phase of the forestation CO2 control project was completed and 6,670 hectares of forest were planted in the desert, which would provide 750,000 m3 of wood reserves. It is estimated that a 6,670 hectare forest can absorb more than 5.4 million tons of CO2 and produce 1.21 million tons of O2.

This forest now has become a “green barrier” between the city of Karamay and the desert. The micro environment and climate of Karamay have significantly improved, with a 30 percent annual rise in precipitation. Average annual evaporation has also dropped by 50 percent, from 3,080 mm to 1,584 mm.

This project has not only served to sequestrate CO2 and reduce emissions, but made it possible to develop wood reprocessing with the support of these resources, which has created a mutually reinforcing green industrial chain and many job opportunities for local people and boosted local economic growth. In 2008, CNPC, in cooperation with the State Forestry Administration, planted 3,330 hectares of the experimental oil crop Xanthoceras sorbifolia, which is adaptive to the climate in Xinjiang. One mu of such a crop can yield 1,500 kg of fruit with the oil yielding rate of 30%. Precious medical ingredients can first be extracted from the squeezed oil, and 93% of the remainder can be converted into biodiesel fuel.