Natural gas benefits southern Xinjiang region

Updated: 2014-12-22 11:22


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URUMQI -- Natural gas has replaced charcoal for baking naan, a staple in the Uygur diet, in sparsely populated southern Xinjiang, as local residents bid farewell to bio-fuel burning.

Arskar Tursun, manager of a Naan Restaurant in Kuqa county in Aksu city, said local people stubbornly believed that naan could only be baked by charcoal for its special flavor. There was a local joke saying that natural gas can be used for everything except for making naan and nailing horseshoes.

The largest naan restaurant in the region has invited hundreds of locals this year to taste free sampling of naan cooked in its kitchen range fueled by natural gas to convince customers that the flavor of the pancake can be preserved by using the clean fuel for baking.

Tursun said 90 percent of eaters acknowledged the taste of gas-cooked naan is on par with those made traditionally.

Chef Arken said natural gas fuel is handy and produces much less poisonous discharge such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide found in coal.

Southern Xinjiang is home to China's largest natural gas producer, the Tarim Oilfield, which has sent more than 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas to East China in the past decade, benefiting 400 million people in more than 80 cities and 3,000 enterprises.

However, only in recent years, local communities in Xinjiang have got access of the gas produced by the oilfield, after 93 government-sponsored gas stations built to pipe gas to households in 40 counties benefitting 2 million residents.

From cooking, heating to vehicle fueling, the regenerated energy has greatly modernized people's lives in the less developed region, largely populated by ethnic Uygur.