Last update:
2020-07-30

Sulige gas field causing water pollution, Inner Mongolia, China

In 2012, CNPC's Sulige gas field was found to have discharged drilling waste liquid to a nearby lake after a heavy rain, which led to water pollution and death of 500+ livestock, causing serious damage to the water system and local herdsmen's livelihood.


Description:

The Sulige gas field is located in the Maowusu Desert of the Ordos Basin in China, partly located in the Uxin Banner of Inner Mongolia, where natural gases and coal resources abound. [1][2] The Sulige gas field was discovered in 2000 and developed by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)’s PetroChina Changqing Oilfield Company (Changqing Oilfield). It has a total proven reserve of around 1,680 billion cubic meters, making it China’s largest gas field and the world’s largest un-compartmentalized gas field. The production at Sulige gas field began in 2006, with an output of around 22.7 billion cubic meters/year as of 2016.[2][3] The Sulige gas field is also at a strategic location at the junction of the main gas pipelines in China. The gas produced at Sulige is transmitted to major cities in China including Beijing.[4]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sulige gas field causing water pollution, Inner Mongolia, China
Country:China
State or province:Inner Mongolia
Location of conflict:Saru’nutu Gacha, Galutu Town, Uxin Banner (乌审旗嘎鲁图镇萨如努图嘎查)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Sulige gas field is a natural gas field located in the north-central Ordos Basin in China, partly located in the Uxin Banner of Inner Mongolia, where natural gases and coal resources abound.[1] The Sulige gas field was discovered in 2000 and developed by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)’s Changqing Oilfield. It has a total proven reserve of around 1,680 billion cubic meters, making it the world’s largest un-compartmentalized gas field. The production at Sulige gas field began in 2006, with around 3.7 million cubic meters/day.[3] The Sulige gas field is also at a strategic location at the junction of the main gas pipelines in China. The gas produced at Sulige is transmitted to major cities in China including Beijing.[4]

Level of Investment:Unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:15 herdsmen family, approximately 50 people [8]
Start of the conflict:20/06/2012
End of the conflict:31/08/2013
Company names or state enterprises:PetroChina Changqing Oilfield Company (长庆油田公司) (Changqing Oilfield (长庆油田)) from China - Responsible for the exploration of Sulige gas field
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) from China - Parent company of the company involved in the exploration of the gas field that led to the pollution
PetroChina Company Limited (PetroChina) from China - Parent company of the company involved in the exploration of the gas field that led to the pollution
Chuanqing Drilling Engineering Company Safety and Environmental Protection Quality Supervision and Inspection Research Institute (中石油川庆钻探公司安全环保质量监督检验研究院) from China - Involved in the drilling of the gas field and received the fine for not implementing waste liquid treatment safetey measures
Relevant government actors:Uxin Banner Environmental Protection Bureau (乌审旗环保局)
Galutu Township Government (嘎鲁图镇镇政府)
Ordos Municipality Environmental Protection Bureau(鄂尔多斯市环保局)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Green Beagel Environment Institute (达尔问环境研究院自然大学) http://www.bjep.org.cn/
Researcher from Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (中国环境科学研究所), Zhao Zhangyuan (赵章元)
Lawyer from Zhongzi Law Office (中咨律师事务所), Xia Jun(夏军)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Pastoralists
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
The herdsmen organized a seminar with participation of scientists, lawyers and environmental NGOs in Beijing.
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Waste overflow
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Soil contamination, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsDiseases and death observed in livestock
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsLoss of livestock, which is an important income source for local herdsmen
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The herdsmen were able to access independent investigation results and environmental expert opinion, which indicated that the gas drilling activities had led to the pollution of the local water system. However, this could not serve as sufficient causal evidence to file an environmental lawsuit against the pollution company. Besides, the independent investigation by the researcher from the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences was closely monitored and interrupted by local government officials. On the other hand, despite the fact that the herdsmen were compensated financially, it is unclear whether the amount of the compensation is a fair evaluation of the long-term social, environmental and economic cost to the herdsmen.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国环境保护法)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[11] H. Yang, X. Liu, D. Huang, Y. Lan, and S. Wang, “Natural gas exploration and development in Changqing Oilfield and its prospect in the 13th Five-Year Plan,” Nat. Gas Ind. B, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 291–304, Oct. 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.ngib.2016.06.003.
[click to view]

[10] 从《中华人民共和国环境保护法》的角度来分析“中石油长庆油田分公司水污染事件”
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] “Sulige gas field,” Wikipedia. [Online]. [Accessed: 14-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[8] Y. Liu, “长庆油田58万赔偿承受不了环境污染之重,” 中国经济网, 2013. [Online]. [Accessed: 14-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[2] “Changqing Oil & Gas Province.” [Online]. [Accessed: 16-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[1] Y. Xiao, Green Great Wall (毛乌素绿色传奇). Nottingham: Aurora Publishing LLC, 2015.

[4] “苏里格气田外输气当年突破30亿立方米,” 中国石油报, 10-Nov-2008. [Online]. [Accessed: 15-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[5] Y. Lu and Y. Jiang, “中国石油被指非法排污致鄂尔多斯牛羊暴死,” Economic Information (经济参考), 30-Jul-2013. [Online]. [Accessed: 11-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[6] “鄂尔多斯牛羊暴死另有原因,” People.cn (人民网), 15-Aug-2013. [Online]. [Accessed: 11-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[7] K. Zhang, “中石油长庆油田被指直接排污入湖 致牲畜暴死,” 第一财经日报, 20-Jun-2013. [Online]. [Accessed: 27-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

[9] “The environmental protection fight of Changqing Oilfield (长庆油田的环保之争),” Energy Magazine (能源杂志), 26-Aug-2015. [Online]. [Accessed: 13-Jul-2020].
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/2018 summer/BW
Last update30/07/2020
Comments
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