China Intensifies Search for Oil in Tibet

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  • In a bid to reduce its dependency on oil imports, Chinese miners have drilled a record 7-km deep borehole on the energy-rich, untapped Tibetan plateau. Proposals to drill wells as deep as 10 km are under review.
  • Tibet’s altitude and geology, which contains fragmented structures prone to collapse make it difficult to drill in the area. Both Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have conducted explorations on undisclosed locations in the Plateau.
  • The oil reserves at the Qiangtang basin in central Tibet are estimated at 10 billion tonnes. In addition to this, it also contains reserves on copper, iron, gold and other minerals.
  • Opposition for the mining activities have come from many Tibetans including Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and in Sichuan and Gansu provinces. A man was reported to have been shot in a clash erupting from a protest, and 3 others were jailed for 13 yrs after protesting mining activities in Nagchu in the Central TAR.

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