URUMQI, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Hazret Mamut, a resident living in south Xinjiang, bid farewell to liquid gas storage tanks two months ago. Now, a new natural gas network makes his life more convenient.
"I used to go to the gas station to change the tank when it was used up, which used to take me 10 minutes riding an electric scooter," Hazret recalled. But now, he only needs to turn the knob of the stove, and the flame is lit.
"Using natural gas costs less than 20 yuan (2.9 U.S. dollars) for cooking every month," Hazret added.
Such a small convenience of Hazret's life owes to a natural gas project conducted by PetroChina, one of China's major oil companies.
Since the natural gas pipeline in Uqturpan County in Aksu Prefecture, Hazret's home, was put into operation in May, a natural gas network covering all prefectures in south Xinjiang has been established.
Remote cities and counties in south Xinjiang have long suffered poverty, underdeveloped economy, extreme climate and fragile environment. Urban and rural residents in this area mainly used firewood and coal as living fuel, which was not only costly, but also had a negative impact on the local ecology.
To improve the local people's living standards, the natural gas project was launched in 2010 and has been operating since 2013. So far, more than 3,000 km of pipes have been installed, providing natural gas to 42 counties and cities, and benefiting over 4 million residents in south Xinjiang.
"It saved me a lot of money," said Hawanisahan Jelili, who lived in Karakax County in Hotan Prefecture, adding her family would spend nearly 3,500 yuan for heating by burning coal in winter, but it was reduced to 2,000 yuan after natural gas pipes were built in the county in 2016.
Almost 12 years ago, natural gas supply started in the city of Hotan. And PetroChina's project has gradually stretched its network to more rural areas.
The project has supplied more than 33.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the southern areas of Xinjiang since 2013, not only improving the people's lives but also injecting new vitality to the development of the local economy and society.