Since the Sino-Myanmar natural gas pipeline commenced fuel deliveries in late July 2013, the 793-kilometer energy transportation route has operated well below its total capacity. The underutilization has resulted in an estimated annualized loss of 1.7 billion yuan (US$280 million) and raised pressing questions about the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)-led joint venture’s future commercial viability.
Data about the US$1 billion pipeline’s first year of operations have become public in recent months. According to a CNPC report released in July, the pipeline transferred a total of 1.87 billion cubic meters of natural gas to southern China and 60 million cubic meters for local consumption in Myanmar during its first year of deliveries. The 2.47 billion transferred translates to around 20% of the pipeline’s total capacity, which is designed to carry 12 billion cubic meters annually.
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