BEIJING (Commodity Online): China is all set to start building its third West East Pipeline project by the end of this year, according to an official statement. The pipeline is designed to transmit 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

It will also act as a catalyst for delivering imported natural gas from Central Asia, it said.

WEP III will extend from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to the southeastern province of Guangdong passing through Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Henan, Hubei and Hunan Provinces/Autonomous Regions.

The Chinese government said the western section of the pipeline is scheduled to start operation in 2012, while the eastern section will be operational in 2014.

Due to concerns about the environmental ramifications of using traditional thermal energy sources, China has been rapidly expanding the consumption of cleaner-burning natural gas in recent years.