Construction will start in the first half of this year on a 4,200km cross-China gas pipeline after the project was given approval by the State Council. The pipeline, which will stretch from Xinjiang to Shanghai, will be built by PetroChina and a consortium led by Royal Dutch/Shell. Exxon Mobil has also been in discussions about investing in the pipeline with Shell.
“We would welcome the participation of ExxonMobil,” said Nick Wood, Shell’s external affairs director for north-east Asia. “This is a big project, on a world scale. We need its skills and experience.”
However, these discussions have caused a slippage in the timetable. The first section, from Jingbian in Shaanxi province to Shanghai will be completed in 2004, while the entire project will be completed the following year. Some Western analysts have questioned the economic viability of the project.