BEIJING - Chinese geologists have detected "super-thick" oil and gas-bearing stratums in the northern part of the South China Sea and identified 38 offshore oil and gas-bearing basins, a senior official said on Saturday.
The outskirts of Songliao Basin in Northeast China, Yin'e Basin in North China and Qiangtang Basin on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have also been found to have rich oil and gas resources, Wang Min, vice-minister of land and resources, said at a national conference in Beijing.
In addition, 192.7 billion tons of coal resources have been found in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and four 10,000-ton sandstone-type uranium mines have been located in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, he said.
Wang said these latest discoveries, particularly those at sea, have given direction for China's future resource exploration.
Conducting more geological inspections at the above regions has been set as one of the ministry's major working tasks this year.
Comprehensive geological and environmental inspections will be conducted at key offshore areas such as the southern region of Yellow Sea, the northern part of the South China Sea, East China's Liaodong Bay and regions near South China's Hainan Island, according to the ministry.
Wang said the country has also made a breakthrough in locating new energy resources. Natural gas hydrate has been found for the first time in the northern region of the South China Sea and frozen-soil areas at Qilian Mountain.
And a 2.46-million-ton lithium carbonate mine has been located in Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, which will reduce the cost of lithium production and help with the country's new energy industry.
Due to China's rapid economic growth in the past 10 years, the country's energy consumption has been growing rapidly and become more dependent on imports.
Right now, China has become the biggest consumer of coal, steel, alumina, copper and cement.
More than half of the country's petroleum and iron consumption, about 70 percent of its copper consumption and 64 percent of sylvite consumption now rely on imports, according to figures released by the Ministry of Land and Recourses on Saturday.
Wang said thanks to the efforts of the geologists, new resources detected in the past 10 years accounted for about half of all resources found in the past half century, and the amount of new resources found each year has surpassed their annual consumption.
For instance, by the end of last year, the available reserves of iron and aluminum increased by 41 percent and 39 percent compared with the levels in 1999.
However, China will still experience resource bottlenecks in the future, Wang said.
"As a big developing country, we must make more efforts in exploring domestic supplies to ensure our energy security," Wang said.
China in the next five years will also have closer international cooperation on geological work and set up a global mining resource information database to help Chinese enterprises better survey and explore overseas resources, the ministry said, without giving more details.