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Will HK’s Gas Pipeline Really Clean Our Skies?

SCMP – Sep 05, 2008

It is welcome news that Hong Kong will be getting gas from a new mainland pipeline.

However, the reported volume of about 1 billion cubic metres per year (“More gas for HK in deal with mainland”, August 29) is less than 40 per cent of what CLP Power (SEHK: 0002) is getting from the Yacheng field near Hainan . If CLP is right about Yacheng’s continuing decline, gas supplies to Hong Kong will actually fall over time even with this new deal. In contrast, the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal would provide something like four times the reported amount of gas from the new pipeline deal.

To meet clean-air targets Hong Kong needs natural gas to replace much of the coal it uses. Natural gas is a versatile fuel used around the world for residential and commercial energy, transport and generating electric power. The more gas we have, the more options we have to reduce pollution. Considering this, the new gas deal should not necessarily rule out a Hong Kong LNG terminal.

We urge the government to provide specific information about the amount of gas Hong Kong will receive under the new pipeline agreement and clearly state whether the amount will be adequate to allow us to substantially reduce (and eventually eliminate) dependence on coal for power generation.

Bill Barron, visiting scholar, Alexis Lau, director, environmental central facility, Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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