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Energy cooperation to lead Silk Road economic belt

Source:   Time:

XI'AN, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Energy cooperation including exploitation of oil and gas reserves will boost the development of the Silk Road economic belt covering China and central Asia, industrial experts have said.

Exploitation of energy resources will serve as the major force driving the economic belt, said Zeng Xingqiu, deputy head of the Energy Research Center under the Investment Association of China, during an ongoing forum held in west China's Xi'an City on promoting cooperation in the belt.

His words were shared by Zhang Yuqing, deputy director of the National Energy Administration, who believes energy cooperation is pivotal in the development of regions along the route, which will ensure regional energy security and support sustainable economic growth.

The Silk Road is a series of routes for trade and cultural exchange connecting China and European countries since around 100 B.C., with central Asia as the intermediate station.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for joint efforts from countries along the route to build the belt and boost cooperation on a visit to Kazakhstan in September.

Over the last decade 60 million tonnes of crude oil and 81 billion cubic meters of natural gas have been piped from central Asia to China, following the same path once used by camel caravans to transport silk and other regional goods in ancient times.

The cooperation prompted rapid increase in trade volume between China and four central Asian countries, which jumped to 40.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, nearly 100 times than that of 1992, data from China's Ministry of Commerce showed.

It also improved infrastructure construction, created jobs and supported local economies along the route.

China will continue to encourage energy enterprises to expand cooperation in central Asian countries, Zhang said, promising policy support from central government to build a sound environment for businesses.

The exploitable volume of crude oil surpassed 30 billion tonnes with natural gas more than one trillion cubic meters in central Asia, which is expected to be the second largest source of oil and gas after the Persian Gulf.

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