Oil giant China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has announced plans to reclaim close to 40 hectares of land in Dapeng Bay in Shenzhen for an LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) project. The project consists of the construction of a receiving station and two docks for LNG and normal ships. Although the construction of the new gas plant would provide a ready natural gas supply both for daily use and in times of emergency for residents of Macao and Hong Kong, this comes at an arguably high cost. Land reclamation would change the quality of the seawater and affect the ecological environment for fishing. The planned plant brings with it the constant risk of oil leakages and spills, and also pollution for residents living nearby. NGOs have cast doubts on the accuracy of CNPC’s EIA report, pointing out that the assessment made use of inaccurate scientific data and did not fully take into account all relevant factors. For example, the project would take up 63 and not 40 hectares since seabed dredging would take up another 23 hectares. Also, the environmental impact on rare corals found in the bay has not been considered.
However, CNPC has successfully persuaded residents to support this project. At the closed-door consultation conducted by the Guangdong martime authorities to solicit the opinions of the general public, little dissent was expressed. At the same time, only two media representatives were invited to the consultation. The resulting scant media attention when combined with general public approval makes it likely that the project will go ahead despite the inadequacies of the EIA report.