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Development

China Finds Oil in Tibet

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/02/20; February 20, 2002.]

BBC 20 Feb 2002.

Development plans for Tibet include the world's highest railway Chinese geologists are reported to have discovered a vast oil deposit in a remote part of northern Tibet.

The oil deposit in the Qiangtan Basin extends over 100 kilometres (60 miles) and may hold as much as 100 million tonnes of oil, according the official Xinhua news agency.

The Chinese government has ambitious plans for Tibet, which include developing five airports and building a railway linking the mountainous region to the outside world.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government pledged to spend $3.8bn (2.6bn, 4.1bn euros) to complete more than 100 construction projects in Tibet. Oil extraction in Tibet's mountains is likely to attract criticism from environmentalists and human rights activists.


Protests

Both BP and Royal Dutch Shell took stakes in China's national oil giants when PetroChina and Sinopec floated on the international stock markets in 2000.

BP faced calls to disinvest its 2.2% stake in PetroChina at its April shareholders' meeting because of human rights concerns about a pipeline in Tibet.

Big development projects already underway in Tibet include the 1,000km (600miles) railway line from the city of Golmud, in China's Qinghai province, to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which could cost at least $3bn to build.

For much of its length, the line will run 4,000m above sea-level, posing formidable engineering problems from permafrost and the mountainous route.


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