On one hand Nepal is acutely suffering from frequent unavailability of petroleum products, on the other hand our immediate northern neighbor the Tibet might soon be going to be world’s one of the biggest producers of petroleum products. According to very recently published documents, though their accuracy is yet to be fully confirmed, the oil and natural gas reserves of Tibet are almost four times and two times respectively greater than such reserves of the whole India (including offshore potential). International oil companies like BP, Shell etc are already actively engaged to exploit the vast oil and natural gas resources of Tibet. Commercial exploitation of Tibetan petroleum resources has already raised angry protests from institutions opposed to Chinese rule in Tibet.
China is going to complete the construction of 3,900 kilometers long gas pipeline to connect Tibet with gas markets in the east by the end of this year. We also know that the railway lines have already been extended up to Sighatse. Needless to say that all these activities are the precursor of full scale exploitation of petroleum resources potential of Tibet in immediate future.
It is hoped that Nepal will not waste time in exploring all aspects of petroleum products import from Tibet. Petroleum products could be imported in sufficient quantity to meet our country’s demand as well as that of our immediate southern neighboring states, West Bengal, Bihar and Utter Pradesh. Definitely, the transport cost of petroleum products from Tibet by overland pipelines would be far cheaper than such cost by undersea pipelines, as India is now contemplating, or by ships.
Nepal could even immediately start petroleum products trade with China by transporting petroleum up to railhead Sighatse in railway carriers and thereafter by road transport. The distance between Kathmandu and Shigatse, and the distance between Kathmandu and Barauni in India are more or less equal.
Petroleum Resources Potential
It is not a secret that many international companies were since a long time interested to tap the vast petroleum resources potential of Tibet. We can easily draw such conclusion from the following article published in The Guardian on October 2, 2000 under the heading “ BP caught in Tibet crossfire”.
A partially built gas pipeline in Tibet threatens to become a major embarrassment for several multinational oil companies after the Dalai Lama urged them to withdraw their support for Chinese firms involved in the huge project.
The Tibetan government in exile has called for an immediate halt to the construction of several oil and gas schemes that are being backed by multinationals such as BP, Amco, Enron and Agip. It argues that the pipeline is of no benefit to the Tibetan people and will merely accelerate the influx of Chinese migrants into Tibet.
Dow Jones Newswires
The Phayul.com has republished the following article already published by DOW JONES on June 24, 2003 under the title “ China Discovers 13 Billion Tons Crude Oil, Gas Reserves in Tibet”.
China has discovered hydrocarbon reserves totaling 13 billion metric tons of oil and gas equivalent in Tibet, paving the way for development of oil and gas resources there, a China-based industry official said.
Recent geological surveys conducted by Chengdu Mineral Resources Research Institute based in Sichuan province, show there are seven oil and gas bearing structures at Qiangtang basin, 200 kilometers north of Lhasa the region’s capital, an institute official told DOW JONES NEWSWIRES. Of the total reserves, 3.8 billion tons are crude oil and the rest is natural gas …..
The magazine Tibetan Review has published on April 8, 2014 the article under the heading “ China drills 7-km long borehole in Tibet in bid for oil and gas”
Having found it to contain enormous oil and natural gas potential China has now punched a seven-kilometer borehole into Tibetan Plateau in bid to extract these globally scarce resources, reported scmp.com April 7. But, like in the case of all other efforts at the exploration of resources in Tibet. China is keeping the project secret, refusing to reveal its whereabouts and the names of the oil and gas giants involved in it, the report added…..
Comparison with India and China (excluding Tibet)
As of 2013 the proven crude oil potentials of China (excluding Tibet ) and India ( including offshore potential) are about 5 billion tons and 1 billion tons respectively. The crude oil potential of Tibet is expected to be about 4 billion tons.
As of 2013 the proven natural gas potentials of Russia, China ( excluding Tibet) and India are 900 billion tons, 15 billion tons and 5 billion tons respectively. The natural gas potential of Tibet (excluding rest of the China) is expected to be 9 billion tons.