MANDALAY, Myanmar, July 28 (Xinhua) -- A Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline (Myanmar section), co-invested by six parties from four countries including China, Myanmar, South Korea and India, was inaugurated in northern Myanmar's Mandalay on Sunday and started to deliver gas to China.
At about 4:12 p.m. (local time), Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun, Energy Ministers U Than Htay and U Zeya Aung, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Yang Houlan and a South Korean representative jointly started up the commissioning button.
When torches flamed in the sky of Namkham Measuring Station of Myanmar-China Gas Pipeline, a storm of applause and cheers broke out on the ceremony site and Namkham Metering Station.
The pipeline is part of a so-called Myanmar-China Oil and Gas Pipeline project, which also includes building a crude oil pipeline. Starting from Kuaykphyu, it passes through Rakhine state, Magway and Mandalay regions and Shan state and enters Chinese territory at Ruili, Yunnan province through Namhkan.
The gas pipeline stretches for 793 km onshore within Myanmar's territory with six processing stations, while the crude oil pipeline, which is nearing completion, starts from Made Island and extends onshore for 771 km.
The gas pipeline has a designed annual throughput of 12 billion cubic meters before off-loading in Myanmar. The transmission capacity of the crude oil pipeline on the Myanmar side is designed at 22 million tons per year with a 300,000-ton crude oil wharf being added.
After the completion and commissioning of the whole project, 2 million tons of crude oil and 20 percent of the designed throughput of gas will be off-loaded in Myanmar, which will be helpful to promote Myanmar's economic development and people's living standards.
Two joint ventures -- South-East Asia Crude Oil Pipeline Co., Ltd. (SEAOP) and South-East Asia Gas Pipeline Co., Ltd. (SEAGP) -- were registered and established with investment from all parties to respectively take charge of operation of the two pipelines.
The SEAOP involves China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), while the SEAOP involves CNPC of China, DAEWOO of South Korea, OCEBV of India, MOGE of Myanmar, KOGAS of S. Korea and GAIL of India.
The two joint ventures have conducted operations in strict accordance with specifications and patterns of international pipeline projects since the beginning of pre-feasibility study stage, according to sources with the investors.
Responsible official of the SEAOP Jiang Changliang said at the commissioning ceremony that the areas where the pipeline passes through are featured with complicated terrain and environment, which posed serious challenges to the construction.
After three years of construction, the gas pipeline (Myanmar section) was completed and underwent test run on May 30.
The Myanmar-China Oil and Gas Pipeline project is said to have created a huge amount of job opportunities for local people, hiring as many as over 6,000 for the construction work.
Meanwhile, a total of more than 220 Myanmar enterprises were involved in the project with their employees being technically trained.
There has also been socio-economic development aid projects undertaken along the Myanmar-China gas pipeline project areas. So far, 20 million U.S. dollars have been donated for use in education, medical treatment, health and disaster relief.
Besides, 45 schools and 24 clinics have been built to improve the teaching facilities for 19,000 students and medical facilities for 800,000 local people.
The joint ventures also offered 10 million dollars for repairing high voltage power grid line in Kyaukphyu, in which CNPC donation accounted for 3 million dollars.
In the second half of 2012, when Rakhine state experienced communal riot, the joint ventures extended 50,000 U.S. dollars of aid in cash and 10 tons of rice. Moreover, they also donated 50, 000 dollars to quake-hit victims in central Myanmar.
Observers here said the China-Myanmar Oil and Gas Pipeline project is a multi-national and mutually beneficial energy project and also carries the goodwill of the peoples of China and Myanmar, adding it is bound to promote the regional economic development while deepening the China-Myanmar "Paukphaw" (fraternal) friendship.