China and Russia are considering expanding a natural gas pipeline that’s now under construction. The pipeline is expected to be completed by the end of next year - transporting natural gas from Russia to meet the rising demand for cleaner fuel in China.
Once the torch is lit, the welding process cannot be interrupted for the next 10 hours.
A welder named Li Qiang said: “We are using the thickest pipeline ever used in China. The welding process takes five times longer and uses much more bonding wire.”
The over 1 kilometer long underwater crossing of the China-Russia gas pipeline is the most crucial and difficult part of the East Route Natural Gas Pipeline. Due to limited space, welders like Li Qiang have to stay alert for the entire welding process. Beyond this kilometer, things are easier - an automated welding machine is saving workers lots of time. The original plan for the pipeline is to transport 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year from Russia, and the two sides are contemplating increasing that amount.
The China-Russia East Route Natural Gas Pipeline is expected to start operations by the end of 2019. For welder Li Qiang, the project means more than good pay but also spells out the possibility of better air in China as the country replaces winter coal-heating with natural gas.