With a report on the environmental impact of CLP Power's plan to build a gas terminal to be released soon, the company insists the project is necessary given the need to increase the use of clean fuel to meet the government's 2010 targets for reducing air pollution. The report on the impact of building an HK$8 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Soko Islands, southwest of Lantau, is expected to be released in two weeks. A one-month public consultation will follow its release, a CLP Power spokesman said yesterday. CLP Power, one of Hong Kong's two power producers, said the islands were the best site available for the terminal, where LNG will be unloaded from tankers. Environmental group WWF said building the plant could affect the islands' marine ecology. Chief executive Eric Bohm said: 'The proposed gas pipeline will cut through prime marine habitat near the Soko Islands. Not only are the waters an important fishing ground, they are the only place where the locally protected Chinese white dolphin and finless porpoise occur together.' The green group accused the power company of trying to play down the issue by releasing the environmental impact assessment report over the holidays. It also questioned whether the new facility was needed, citing press reports that the reserves of the existing gas field off Hainan Island could supply Hong Kong for more than 30 years. This week, a senior official of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the largest offshore oil company in China and supplier of gas to CLP, reportedly said the Yacheng gas field had sufficient reserves to supply the city for more than 30 years, contradicting previous assertions by CLP that the field could be depleted by 2010. CLP, which uses about 80 per cent of Yacheng's annual output, to generate electricity, insists that building the LNG facility is the only way to resolve its supply problem. Some critics of CLP Power suspect it is building the project to boost the total of its net assets - which determines the profit it can make under the scheme of control signed with the government. A CLP spokeswoman declined to comment on the conflict between its estimate of the Yacheng reserves and CNOOC's.