$250m AIIB loan set for coal-to-gas conversion
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced on Dec 11 a $250 million (212.7 million euros; £187.6 million) loan for a natural gas project in Beijing, the bank’s first such investment in China, to help cut coal use and improve air quality in the capital area. The loan, also the AIIB’s first corporate financing deal, will be extended to Beijing Gas Group Co to carry out coal-to-gas conversion projects that will enable rural households to use gas instead of coal for cooking and heating. The project will involve construction of natural gas distribution networks, pipelines and household connection facilities, the Beijing-based multilateral financial institution said in a statement. Scheduled to be completed in 2021, the project will help China reduce coal use by about 650,000 metric tons annually through connecting about 216,750 households in approximately 510 rural villages to the natural gas distribution network, according to the AIIB.