Tuesday, December 15, 2009

China's winter weather triggers natural gas shortages

BEIJING - The municipal government of Hangzhou, in East China's Zhejiang province, stopped all natural gas supplies to entertainment businesses one recent weekend to guarantee supplies to the city's 410,000 households.
The city government also reduced gas supplies to hotels, office buildings and shopping malls by 20 percent.
Chinese cities have been grappling for several weeks with shortages of natural gas triggered by the unusually early winter weather.
Transportation authorities in the southwestern China city of Chongqing said that 6,200 of the city's 7,000 buses are powered by natural gas, and that services were pared back as supplies slowed. The municipal government on Nov. 23 also allowed natural gas-fueled taxis to levy a two-yuan surcharge per trip to offset their losses.
In Wuhan, the capital of central China's Hubei province, the city's biggest natural gas consumer - Intex Glass (Wuhan) Co. Ltd. - is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the gas shortage. The company has more than 100 employees on its payroll.
"Our factory stopped production for more than a week. The company has ordered diesel as a substitute for natural gas to fuel the smelter to prevent our materials from degenerating," said Ao Wanzhi, manager of the company.
The company's daily gas consumption was about 145,000 cubic meters, which accounted for one-tenth of the city's total. The company's monthly production value was estimated at 50 million yuan.
The city government started to cut natural gas supplies to industrial users on Nov. 17 in an effort to ensure residential supplies.

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