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Karamay, an oil center in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has witnessed great changes over the past 30 years.

The city sprung up after China's first oilfield was discovered in the Gobi Desert on October 29, 1955.

With the help of renovation and the introduction of advanced technology and equipment, Karamay has seen its oil output increase continuously for the last 27 years, from 3.84 million tons in 1981 to 8.21 million tons in the first eight months of 2008. This year Karamay has also produced 2.21 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

To reach the target of sustainable development, in 2001 the city completed a water conservation project that brings in 400 million cubic meters of water every year. The move has prompted local development of big agriculture.

The city now enjoys a modern and diverse industrial system, with the petroleum industry supported by construction, mechanical manufacturing, tourism and tertiary industry.

As the economy developed, environmental quality also improved. By the end of 2007, green areas covered by trees and grass reached 38.7 percent of the city's total area, and the number of days per year meeting first- and second-grade air-quality standards hit over 99 percent. The city thus has won several prizes including the Chinese People Settlement Environment Example, National Environmental Protection City and National Garden City.

The living standard has also improved. Per-capita living space exceeds the national standard of 23 to 34.75 square meters. Karamay's output value hit 51.5 billion yuan ($7.57 billion) in 2007, with its per-capita output value leading among cities nationwide.

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