China has switched on a new pipeline bringing natural gas from Myanmar, a state company said Monday, in a project that has raised concerns in Myanmar's nascent civil society about whether its giant neighbour's resource grabs will benefit local people.
The 793-kilometre (493-mile) pipeline connects the Bay of Bengal with southwest China's Yunnan province and is expected to transfer 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas to China annually, according to a news release on the website of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). A parallel 771-kilometre (479-mile) pipeline that will carry Middle East oil — shipped via the Indian Ocean — is still under construction.
China's investments, largely in energy and mining, have generated controversy in Myanmar because they have done little to relieve that country's chronic power shortages. In response, last year the Myanmar government abruptly suspended construction of the China-backed Myitsone dam, which would displace thousands and flood the spiritual heartland of Myanmar's Kachin ethnic minority.
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