PetroChina aims to pump 1b cu m of shale gas in Sichuan in '15

Updated: 2011-09-26 17:25


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PetroChina hopes to produce 1 billion cubic meters of shale gas in 2015 from Southwest China's Sichuan basin, a company executive said on Sept 25, giving the country its first major commercial production of shale gas.

PetroChina's explorers are working on three blocks Changning, Weiyuan and Fushun-Yongchuan in Sichuan, with the first two acreages totalling 6,567 square kilometers and the third one, the 3,818 square kilometers block under joint study with Royal Dutch Shell, said Li Luguang, head of PetroChina's Sichuan subsidiary.

The remark by Li offers first concrete details on where Chinese firms might first pump shale gas commercially, after parent company PetroChina said in August that the firm aimed for a total output of 1.5 billion cubic meters of shale gas by 2015.

China is at early stage in exploring for shale gas, with so far no commercial production.

The world's top energy user is forecast to burn three times more natural gas by 2020 from around 100 billion cubic meters in 2010.

When asked about the prospect of expanding cooperation with international energy firms, Li said "We will first focus on executing the existing one," referring to the joint study with Shell on the Fushun block.

Shell has sunk two wells in the Fushun block and are drilling another three, which are expected to be completed by end of this year, said Li.

One of the two wells drilled, Yang-101 tested a daily gas output of 60,000 cubic metres.

Another Chinese firm, provincial-government-controlled Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group, aims to produce 500 million cubic meters by 2015.

According to Wang Xiangzeng, the group's chief geologist, Yanchang estimates there are 15 to 18 trillion cubic meters of shale gas in the block, mostly continental shale formations, which it operates in north China's Ordos basin.

Sinopec Corp, the country's second-biggest energy firm, has yet to come up with a shale gas target for 2015. "For shale gas, we will concentrate for the next two years on collecting data and doing research. We'll put in more work after 2013," said Gan Zhenwei, head of Sinopec's southwest subsidiary charged with developing upstream resources in Sichuan province.

For tight sandstone gas, Gan said Sinopec aimed to develop 4.5 billion cubic meters of production capacity by 2015 in Sichuan and add more than 250 billion cubic meters of proven reserves in the 2011-2015 period.