The facility will be jointly built by the Chinese state oil and gas concern Sinopec, the Huaneng Xinjiang Energy Development and other energy companies in Xinjiang and eastern Zhejiang Province. In all, the project will require 90 million metric tons (Mt) of coal annually.

Coal gas will be transported to booming provinces of Zhejiang in east China and Guangdong in the south through a series of pipelines, according to Chinese officials. The Zhundong area has estimated coal reserves of 390 billion Mt and proven reserves of 213.6 billion Mt, the largest coal field in China.

Xinjiang is the largest Chinese region and spans over 1.6 million km with one-sixth of the mainland’s population. Atop abundant oil and natural gas reserves independence-minded Xinjiang has witnessed civil unrest in recent years against Beijing’s authority.